Monday, April 23, 2012

THIRD STRING ODYSSEY - Part 1 ; when the doctors almost killed me

This was the field. We were in junior varsity football at Chaminade High School, Mineola, Long Island, October 1961. We were in those red uniforms but it was a weekday practice scrimmage...

A few months before in the drenching humidity of late August we had started practice, some days with double sessions. I remember in one break between those double sessons we all returned from the convenience store to eat on the grey wooden bench. As we listened to "Sherry" by the Four

Seasons on the radio I wolfed down 5 hot dogs and two Nedicks Orange sodas. Not a good idea. Before the coaches returned I managed to barf it all up right in front of the bench. Now the radio played "Walk Like a Man" by the Four Seasons. A few weeks later me walking normal wouldn't be for long. I struggled to keep up on the team.
But then came October 18th, 1961 - 50 years ago today. Tonight (as I write this Oct 18th 2011) we'll go out for dinner to celebrate the longer life I got, no thanks to the medical profession.
  I had been the third string end, the tallest on the junior varsity team but lately for some reason I had been catching every pass. The coach said I was going to start against St. Francis of Brooklyn, the toughest team we faced. It was just a quick short pass over the middle. What could go wrong? We were just playing each other. I lined up on the left, ran out, cut right and 5 guys came at me, specifically they all came for my left leg. One was Ed Dennehy, younger brother of actor Brian Dennehy who had graduated in 1956 but was not near his fame yet.
   My best friend in the early elementary school days at St. Christoper's was Danny Mc Groarty. His oldest brother had been a football player at Chaminade with Brian Dennehy. We were the young kids hanging out in the summer on the back screened in porch of the McGroarty house, playing with Danny's model airplanes and watching TV. Those huge older guys, Brian Dennehy included, used to pass through the porch on their way to their lifeguard duties at Jones Beach. I guess we wanted to be like them. Certainly Danny did. Now we were almost there.
      I caught the ball and hung on to it but immediately all 5 managed to find their share of that left leg as they brought me down. It was a clear windless fall afternoon and there was a loud crack heard by everyone at the line. Both coaches heard it. It was obvious I wasn't gonna get up. It was very painful yes, but I was pounding the dirt. Not only was I not going to start against St. Francis my season was over. And, as it turned out, I would never play football again.
       With the whistle blown I guess the procedure was not to call an ambulance. Instead, the assistance coach, a fit but diminutive blond guy ambled up the steps in the stadium seats and over to the locker room. I writhed in pain in the meantime while the practice continued not too far away. A few minutes later the assistant coach and Brother Gerard, an overweight geeky sort of teacher that sadly was often made fun of, came through the stands with an army type stretcher. Into old movies as I was, I could hear Bette Davis in "All About Eve" saying "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride!" so I braced myself. The assistant coach had the stretcher handles at my feet. They were taking me up the stands to the back of the school near the lock room door where a station wagon was parked. The assistant coach began ascending the stairs. I had enought pain but now they were josteling me to a 45 degree angle. I was looking up at my feet. Brother Gerard holding up the rear was weakening under the weight leaning towards him. Were we gonna make it? Barely. They slid me into the back of the station wagon. It was back to hardly tolerable pain and the short ride to Nassau Community Hospital. They bounced me into the emergency and bid me goodbye. Good riddens. Now I was with the professionals. Or so I thought.
      "What's the problem?" asked the ER doctor with a nurse nearby. "Broken tibia and fibula." I said. Oh boy were they impressed. They said something about the superior education I was getting at Chaminade High School. Actually I was in the midst of biology class and we had just covered it. Yes it was my left tibia and fibula. Both bones, both a clean break. No complications on this injury - WHEN I ARRIVED.
         It was somewhat frightening, alone in the hospital. My parents hadn't arrived yet, and they drugged me after the xray showed the clean breaks, then they drugged me again, asked me what I was still feeling, drugged me some more, set and encased that left leg in a full cast that weighed a ton and would be part of me for many months. I was wheeled into a room where Jim, a pleasant 45 year old greeted me with a smile and made the evening a pleasant one. He was recovering from a heart attack. He was engaging and interested in what had happened to me. He made me feel like the adult sized body suggested I should be. Mature.
      This is the point where normal leaves the station. It probably was invisible as it got on the Long Island Railroad and headed for New York but normal was gone. No one involved knew there would be a ripple effect of medical professional incompetence combined with amateur medical incompetence which would play out for five months with a side trip to hell and back. For that night however, the 5' 11" 15 year old kid with the big cast was basking in the glow of a lot of demerol shots injected into him in a hurry. Wow, I had had some Seagrams 7 and & 7up at a few parties but this high was at whole new altitude.
      My parents and friends visited through the weekend and things seemed to be going the way we all thought it should. They would periodically asked if I was still in pain. I would say yes. More Demoral. At night the nursing staff were enthralled eves dropping on "Dr. Kildare" with Richard Chamberlain which seemed to be on every TV set in each room.
      By the fourth day I was really enjoying my time with hospital roommate Jim. As juiced as I was how could I not be having fun. That night my cousin Richard Cooney came to visit. He was a bit of a hero to me. Four years older and captain of the nearby Hofstra College football team. He was the son of my mother's uncle Rody Cooney. Rody was a member of the original Boston Celtics and a winning coach for St. Francis College in Brooklyn in the 1930's and early 1940's. Richard talked warmly for a while. I was somewhere between pain and floating above the bed in exctacy. Whether I was exaggerating how I felt I can't remember but Richard proceeded to bully the nurses on duty to give me more demoral. I was now in day four of ingesting this happy juice. The news on TV got me giggling. My roommate was quiet during the news. Such a young man, in his forties, to be struck down this way. 
     Through day six they kept giving me the drugs and I giggled more. That night a lady I had not seen before. If I did I had forgotten her. She was in her forties, attractive but stern. At first she looked puzzled while examining my chart. When her expression morphed into a scowl like look it was clear something was very wrong. She left our room in a hurry.
      The next morning was my day of discharge. My parents were told it would be a little while for me to come down from planet venus because there was some mistakes about the amount of dope they had given me. The total was said to be 64 adult doses in six days. The stoic nurse who caught the errors was Mrs. Dennehy, mother of Ed Dennehy (and older Brian), one of my tacklers. It was said that I might have been killed in there. Maybe paranoia about male practice wasn't a big issue then. Me, I didn't have a care in the world. I was a large teen hyena tethered to annoying cast.
      They drove me home. Learning to navigate with the crutches I headed for my room, put up that cast and leg which weighed a ton, settled into bed and started laughing, way more than needed, at cartoons, endless cartoons which I never used to watch.
      Then there was the class time and homework I had missed. It was difficult to even organize the notebooks amid the giggles. My father was a smart man. He never went past the sixth grade in formal schooling. He claimed to have gotten his GED somewhere along the way. In later years he would claim a lot of things, fantastic things. He read a moderate amount but for some reason he seemed to save his most intense curiosity for the world of medicine. He had never pursued any work in that field so his interest always did puzzle me. He was developing a theory that the reason I was acting strange was that I had hit my head. I didn't and there wasn't a mark on my head. My head continued to giggle. My father's head continued to wander into an amateur diagnosis.
        He arranged a head XRay. I was transported, head, cast and giggles, to an XRay place over in the next town, Freeport. The results? No I had did not have a head injury. But something else just HAD to be wrong. We were now aboard the medical merry go round and the practitioners along the way would be happy to take my parent's dough. A few more spins and I would be flung off into Suffolk County and the Nuthouse.

Coming up in Part II - my personal preview of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

THIRD STRING ODYSSEY - Part 2 ; when the doctors almost commuted it to Life, no parole

What was my father to do? He rejected the idea that I could be still giggling this long due to too much drugs. He knew all. Next stop was some kind of test center where they told me to enter doors which had different colors on several door frames of rooms. Still don't know what was going on about the door frames. Then I was shown some shapes and ink blots too. The results of that came back. Normal. No luck, for my father's anyway.

I just wanted to be left alone. Back in my room I was free to stay up late and watch TV. I used to do that anyway putting the little black and white on low and watching the unpredictable Jack Parr Tonight Show live from 11:15 to 1 AM I especially enjoyed when he had actor Malacky McCort come on the stage, alone, drunk with funny tales of his life. Malacky's brother Frank at the time was an unknown school teacher, later to win the pulitzer prize for the memoir "Angela' Ashes". But my freedom came with a price. It would have been better to be back in school than to have a new surprise doctors appointment in the morning. I was getting frustrated with it all. I had enough.

So off we go in the morning to a new doctor. This time my father's magical medical tour led to a psychiatrist. What fun, I thought. Bad thought. After some preliminary questions about the broken leg etc the shrink said my father could leave the room. My frustration got me in a Buddy Hackett mood. Big bad mistake. "How do you feel about your injury?" he said. "What do you mean? It's a heavy cast and I'm out for the season. How do you think I feel?"

"Then why have you been laughing so much."

"I'm a happy person"

"Do you hear voices?"

"Sure all the time. I hear you now. Why is that clock ticking so loud?"

"I mean in your head when you are alone"

"Sure, hear voices all the time." The shrink is now writing notes. It is doubtful that the word sarcasm made it into the notes.

"Do you ever feel people are out to get you?"

"Doc, you didn't go to catholic school did you? I don't give it much thought, unless I see they are right behind me, following." Feverishly writing notes.

"What does school have to do with it?" he says.

"I don't like school. Evil is lurking there." said I.


"Ray Heatherton's son graduated last year from Chaminade. (Ray Heatherton was the "Merry Mailman" a popular New York kids show). Sometimes we are forced to an assembly to listen to the Merry Mailman. I think that mailman delivers subliminal communist messages. That's evil, lurking evil."

The shrink can't write notes fast enough.

This went on for awhile. This 15 year old acting cute thought cute was putting the doctors behind him. A few Ink blots. I think I got more cute with those.

"Anything more you want to tell me?"

"No, just want to go home and watch more cartoons. Whatddya you wan't to do Marty?" He didn't relate to my reference to the Borgnine movie.

"I'd like to talk to your father alone. Would you sit out side Kevin?" I headed outside. In walked my father for a "medical conference".

We drove home slowly with me protesting that I was seeing too many doctors for no reason. The October air felt good mixed with the smell of small wood fires. It was really a close to New York City suburb which was hanging on to that country feel. I was looking forward to maybe a Halloween party where I could garner female sympathy as I arrived on crutches.
My father kept saying I was acting strange and I was "popping", whatever the hell that meant. I slowly crutched to my bedroom and Jack Paar was only two hours away. I could hear my parents talking the the kitchen. Gotta drown that out with "The Defenders" and a new sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show".

A few days later we were having dinner. My parents were quiet and uneasy. Who knows, they're nuts anyway I thought. "He Kev, wanna go for a ride to Marie and Jim's?" Marie was my mother's cousin, married to Jim Driscoll, a good natured Met life lifer in New York City. He commuted from wantagh near Jones Beach, a little further out on the Island. I was tired but thought sure, why not. Cousin Jim always gave us quarters as kids on visits throughout the fifties and he had a good record collection. I swung the heavy cast across the back seat of the Cadillac. My father had to get a different car every two years. In his case it was strictly an ego thing. I soon fell asleep.


And hour later it is still dark. The car has stopped at a curb. I wake up to see the car door next to my head open up. My parents initially say nothing as the two muscular men in white order me out of the car and into their white van. Just as I am swinging one of my crutches at one of the orderly's head my father says "It'll be alright son." He thinks he knows this because he had just written them a $1500. check. Somehow I am strong armed into the back of the van. We are driving past an iron gate and headed up a long driveway cutting through a huge manicured lawn.

We drove around the big building to what seemed like a loading dock and the van came to a halt in the darkened driveway. I still didn't know what this was and most of all why it had to be a surprise. One muscular man in white got out of the van an opened the mid door where I sat inside with my leg up. I reached for the crutch as if to guide myself out but instead swung it with all my might, aiming for his head. He ducked and the wodden crutch went past him to the ground. "Bill!" he shouted for help from the driver. I grabbed the other crutch as a present for Bill but he grabbed from the other end and they managed to pull me out of the van and I remained in mid air twisting and shouting all the way in the big double doors. In the start dingy white surroundings which were spinning as I continued to fight I heard them ask the nurse which room they were assigning me. I was carried down the hall. "Fuck you shit head!" I repeated as halfway down the hall we went. They picked up speed. I was only getting myself to the room quicker. It was an empty two bed room. They pinned me down on the bed. Just to show them again how much I cared I told them "Fuck you shit head!"

No warning. No Jack Paar tonight. My parents are the ones who belong in here. How long will I stay? The two muscle interns called for someone to bring them some wide white straps. One guy held me down while the other looped two of the straps around my legs and tied the other ends somewhere under the mattress at the bed frame. Then they each took one of my arms and repeated the process with the straps. I couldn't move anything except my head which I used to spit in their faces. They left the room and closed the door. I lay there strapped to the bed for two hours. I started screaming that I had to take a piss.

Finally they came in with a plastic container and told me how it would be wise not to fight anymore. They un strapped me and watch as I peed. They put me back in the bed and strapped only my legs and told me to sit up and moved the head of the bed up, so I could sit up. They returned with a tray of hot food. I looked down at the food. They were smiling as if I were supposed to be grateful. I said, "You know that's really nice of you." I then picked up the tray and quickly hurled it at them so it was equally distributed over both of their clothes.

They didn't like that. They tied me down again and they weren't gentle as they did it this time. It was a cold room, green empty walls with no windows. The harsh light was a bulb up on the high ceiling. The men returned in fresh uniforms. I recognized immediately the white thing they were carrying. My grandfather, George Murphy, my mothers father, had a favorite movie "Snake Pit" 1948, starring Olivia Dehavilland. The two men undid my restraints, sat me up and forced me into a classic straightjacket. They made me cross my arms after inserting them into the sleeves. They buckled me down the back and buckled the closed end of the sleeves behind me. They left without saying a word after shutting off that overhead light.

. Alone in the dark. This maybe when it all began...the sense of adventure. No one I knew was going through this shit. As helpless as I felt, as sad and desperate as I felt, I wanted to make it out. I wanted to see how the story ended. Call it "The Wizard of Oz Syndrome." I wanted desparately to get home but even if I had ruby slippers I would've tried to make those two orderlies eat them.

Irish temper when blended with lingering massive doses of Demoral apparently multiplies your physical strength by a lot, especially if you are a fit 15 year old. I started to concentrate, expand my chest and maneuver my shoulders. No one can hear me anyway. Grunting groaning, seam let go, just on the left side. I didn't know exactly where but I could feel the slight separation. The pulling grunting in the dark continued. Full separation on that side. Didn't need to work on the other side. A few contortion type moves and I was out of the whole thing. I fell asleep hungry.

When Abbott and Costello entered my room in the morning they were incredulous. They had never seen that happen. "How you feeling? You want breakfast?" one said. "If I wasn't so hungry I'd make you wear it" said I. "We'd just have to tie you up again." One was leaving. "I'll be right back with it." Abbott shook his head as he gathered up what remained of the straight jacket and put it in a large trash can. "When will I get out of here? When will I be able to talk to my parents?" I said. "It will depend on your behaviour and the opinion of your doctor. Your first meeting with your doctor will be this morning."

The in house shrink's office was about the same as the first one where I played the wise guy. The decor however was much more homey. Cushy wall to wall carpeting, elegant drapes and classy low lighting made you feel like you were in a luxury resort if not home. He was short, slight of build and seemed very old to me. What little hair left was white on the side of his shiny bald dome. Dr. Goldfarb seemed preoccuppied. He had a sheet in front of him. "How are you feeling Kevin?" "Incarcerated" "Why do you think you are here?" "I really have nothing to say." "You know we can let you mingle with the rest of the patients if you are more calm and less combative."

"I want to go home that's all." "How is your leg?" "The same." I aked when I would be released. That was up to my behavior an how well "they" though I was getting. He was quite detached as he wrote his notes. I was not to see my parents for two weeks. That was the rule for everyone. However he said with paternal benevelance that I would be allowed to mingle with the general population if I didn't throw my crutches or my meals at the orderlies. The meeting with Goldfarb was less than 20 minutes. He pointed me down the long hall to the common area. I shuffled down there on the crutches. Goldfarb had done his duty and had a whole page of notes to prove it.

I got to the end of the hall which opened up into a big room . One of my orderly victims was the first to give me the evil eye. A smug looking short dark haired nurse was picking up some food trays from the large wooden table. Her dour glance at me told all I needed to know about how she felt about patients. Three "inmates" sat quietly at the table. I could only think they were no longer really with us. I sat in a worn stuffed chair to survey nutsville. There were nine patients in the room plus me. The walls were an insignificant lime color. The ceiling was high. The rotary fan up there was still, brown and dusty.

The tallest oldest patient at the table suddenly jumped to his feet. All the others in the room didn't react. He starded to walk around the table at a moderate gate. He let out a steady painful yelp. No words just a moaning, pleading sound. He continued this nonstop for the next hour. My thoughts went to my grandfather George Murphy, who died seven years before and physically resembled Carroll O'Conner and philosophically matched Archie Bunker. For some reason George's favorite movie was the 1948 film "Snake Pit" starring Olivia de Havilland. (Describe) . Was he watching me, his favorite grandson, aged 15, unceremoniously deposited into the snake pit?

I notice there was a guy sitting in chair a couple of feet from me, checking me out. He wasn't smiling. Immediately I realized who he reminded me of. About 10 months prior I had seen the great musical "Fiorello" about the "Little Flower" Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York. The lead role played by Tom Bosley (years later the father on "Happy Days") won Mr. Bosley a Best Actor tony in 1960.

"You know you look like the guy who plays LaGuardia on broadway in "Fiorello". "Yes I know" almost in a whisper. He stares into my eyes. "Why are you here?"

"Good question. I was at football practice at Chaminade. I went out for a short pass. It's turned into a long journey."

This gets a half grin from the Bosley clone.. "I'm being blocked out of a big inheritance. I will probably never get out. The seven fifty a week here is a good investment for my siblings. I've given up fighting it. " What do I say to that? What about me? The shouting man begins to circle the table again. "He was here when i got here 8 months ago. Somehow you get used to it. I never get used to how bad the food is. That $750 a week they will charge your parents. A 20 minute session with the quack, a midday vitamin they call medication and lousy food. A good racquet."

One of the orderlies enters from the hall escorting a slight young boy in jeans and a polo shirt. All of 14 with a defiant look in his eyes.

I see a few walking outside. I get up and walk to the sliding glass door. The yard is run down, the grass barren, the bird bath cracked. It's a pretty rural setting. Not amenable to a long range escape. At least there was fresh air and a respite from the man circling that table inside. Still, how long will I be here?

The dark middle aged nurse barks from the sliding door. "Medication Time! Come in!" Inside the inmates are lined up by an window/counter. The nurse is monitoring the line. Behind the window is one of the orderlies. Each one gets a pill and a paper cup with water. Each pill is the same color. Each patient is made to consume the pill in full view right at the counter. I get to the counter. "Name?" "Conway" "Take this. " After moaning man takes his pill he resumes his wailing around the table.

I sat back down next to the Bosley look alike.
He was clean cut, wearing jeans and a pale green polo shirt which matched the drab green walls of the room. Bosley smiles. "Here comes trouble. He was ordered here by the court. He put his baby sister in the washing machine, killed her. He may look small but I wouldn't get on his bad side. Security here isn't the greatest."

The young man was taken to a card table where he began to play solitaire. No one came near him. Most others in the room were sitting in chairs spread out in the large open room. They stared. A few read.

I should've been more frightened than I was. Something in me felt it was horrific but an adventure. A trait I was to inhabit for the rest of my years. How was I to get out of this. When I walked outside I could see an escape route. Beyond the orderlies there wasn't much security but South Oaks Psychiatric hospital seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. In the distance I could see the Long Island Railroad but it was a good 4 miles across open fields. I would probably be caught, returned and tied up again. So there I sat listening to daytime soap operas on the community TV and the moaning man doing his slow rings around the lunch table.

So it continued for 12 more days. Two more ridiculous 20 minute sessions with the bored and boring Dr. Goldfarb. When I strolled outside the autumn chill at least reminded me what part of the year it was. I was still tempted by the long island rail road in the distance. What was to become of my sophomore year in high school? What did my parents tell the high school? "We threw Kevin in a loony bin out in suffolk and he's not coming back"??

If it's tuesday it must be two weeks into my incarceration. Old cranky nurse at the vitamin dispensary window tells me my parents will be visiting me today. It's the first time I notice there is a small window where you can see into the lobby. When my parents enter the lobby and the bosely look alike gets a look at my mother he alerts the others. Marilyn Monroe still had a year left of life and my blond mother was about the same age.

An orderly came to take me from the room and I shuffled behind him crutches cast and all. My parents were seated in my room near my bed. The stark room was quite different from the luxurious lobby. They were seeing some of where their money went. My first words were "I don't know why you did this but please get me out of here." My father looked befuddled. My mother began to cry. Against the protests of Goldfarb and my mother on the verge of threatening the castration of my father with a kitchen knife we got in the car heading west back to Baldwin.

My father and I heatedly argued about his dramatic, dangerous quest for a mysterious diagnosis. His heart was in the right place but his ego was also in that place. We calmed down as we rolled through freeport, scene of the magical mystery diagnosis tour that led to the looney bin.

We drove a little past Baldwin, to a chinese restaurant in Rockville Center. Was this a liberation dinner? I guess. It turned out to be a rare sit down dinner and discussion with just me and my parents. Heartfelt but weird. What else was new?

How the subject came around to my grandfather Georgie I can't remember. 

George Murphy was my mother's father and to her there was no equal in all the world while he walked amongst us. So she proceeded to tell me the story of Georgie, the felon. But to her it was an endearing tale of a great rogue of Brooklyn. And I should know the story. After all I was the first born boy grandchild and his favorite till the night he died in 1954.

That night he and my grandmother Ann had been entertaining cousin Lily Datson and her husband Harry. My parents were out somewhere and I was visiting Ann and Georgie for the night. I had learned to play with a do it yourself toy. I took an empty spool of thread, placed a rubber band through the hole in the spool. On one end of the rubber band you put a pencil through the loop. On the other end you put a large button and tied the rubberband to the button. Then you wound the pencil several times, placed the whole contraption on the floor, and it ran around like an out of control little chariot.

The more I ran it around the floor the more my grandfather laughed at my genius. And the two couples laughed, enjoying each others company through dinner.

Lilly and Harry left and as was the custom I went to bed with Georgie so he might tell me some stories. He used to say when you die they put you in a deep black hole. My mother and grandmother didn't like that. This night he was just saying to his 8 year old grandson that I should just close my eyes and the "sandman" would come. "Mr. Sandman" the song was referenced a lot in the neighborhood because one of the Chordettes lived nearby. I closed my eyes and Mr. Sandman came.

When I woke up Georgie wasn't in the bed. My mother and grandmother were standing there and told me the paramedics were removing Georgie's body. 

My grandfather, the lovable Archie Bunker,  looked like he was Archie's twin. He was funny. He was gregarious and he hated blacks and Italians. When I was growing up he was a security guard in Long Beach Long Island. He and my grandmother Ann were not rich by any means but every winter they would drive down to West Palm Beach for a vacation. On one such vacation they returned with a pure bred black cocker spaniel puppy. Georgie had been driving along a road near some large expensive compounds near the ocean. We never found out if it was the Kennedy compound but we have no proof it wasn't. As Georgie rode along the puppy came running under a big gate of one of the compounds. Georgie thought that would be a good puppy for the grand kids. He jumped out grabbed the puppy and that's how "Inky" made it's way to New York. He never got paper trained so our living room in Long Island never smelled good again. One time we were at a house which sold antiques and had a small pond which was only half frozen. Inky ran out and repeatedly sunk each time he tried to walk up on the ice. I never saw Georgie laugh so hard.

Georgie had fought in World War I. He was the son of a New York State trooper. By 1942 he was a bailiff in the Brooklyn courts. The most traumatic thing to happen to my mother in her life was in 1942 was the morning Georgie had to leave for Riker's Island. Not as part of law enforcement but as an inmate sentenced to a year and a day. He was told by some shady characters (Italian) to pass a cash bribe in a brown paper bag to a judge (Italian). Georgie could be heard crying as he big goodbye to my grandmother Ann. He had already bid farewell to his daughters Muriel (my mother) and my aunt Dorothy. He was able not to cry until right before he left the house. Outside a car and driver awaited him. And 12 state trooper motorcycle officers led by Georgie's father. That was the escort he got all the way to Riker's. In my great grandfather's mind he and his 11 associates riding along they were at least making a statement that Georgie got screwed.

So here we are in November 1961 after the worst two weeks in my life. We were not reviewing that. As we waited for the great chinese food to come my mother felt the need to tell me where I got the long Johns that I always wore to play hockey on Loft's Lake. I had always asked about the name printed on the long johns. "What is Riker's Island? I would ask and never got the answer. My mother picked this dinner to reveal, still with some of her high school shame, that Georgie went to Riker's Island because of a "guinea" and when he was being processed out, stole three sets of long johns, somehow hidden in his clothes as he walked out. Georgie never told me what was keeping me warm on Loft's lake.

My father needed me to have one more trip to a doctor. He just had to have an answer and he got it. Back to Freeport we went. Dr. Polito was a noted neurologist and he seemed to have some knowledge of South Oaks Hospital. He looked over all the records,  Xrays, everything. He spoke to my father and I together, then just me alone so I could tell him what happened. Then he called in my father. "Mr. Conway, your son has a broken leg - and too many doctors, including you."

I returned to school, and managed to catch up. I found out that while I was gone, my father had yelled at Brother Kozar, the principal because no one from the school called expressing concern for me and although he didn't tell Kozar where I wound up he said I was near death from a drug reaction and while I was ripping bed restraints at the cuckoo's nest the entire student body of Chaminade was asked to say the rosary for me. When I came back it was the end of the season and I was invited, still with full cast, to watch the last game from the bench. In the second half a kid named Cavanaugh sprained his ankle and came out of the game finding himself next to me. After a while the assistant coach came over to see how Cavanaugh was doing. Cavanaugh looked up at the coach, looked at me and began to cry. "I don't want to die!" I tried not to laugh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Twilight Zone- "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street"

Fifty years ago tonight, as I write this, on Oct 3, 1959  I was watching the very first show of the very first season of the best television program ever broadcast. Here is some narration at the end of one episode from Rod Serling the best closer there ever was.

The Monsters are Due on Maple Street - "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices To be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the frightened, thoughtless search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children, and the children yet unborn."

Years later when Rod Serling came to San Diego State he autographed my first little script entitled "Whatever happened to Tranquility Base?" He said, "Is it any good?" Tongue tied I could only answer "Yeah".  By the way whatever happened to Tranquility Base?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


The hate speech didn't come from Officer Crowley or Professor Gates and certainly didn't come from the 911 caller. It came from Wendy Murphy, the lawyer for the 911 caller. She introduced Lucia Whalen, the 911 caller at a press conference. She couldn't just introduce her, as things were calming down with Obama rightly saying all had overreacted. Ms. Murphy, (a former prosecuter and NFL cheerleader, what a combination) had to say that while the MEN, including the President, had overreacted, her client didn't and now the MEN were going to have a beer. She then said. "I guess it's a guy thing." Where to begin. First of all I was under the impression that women drank beer too. She had to inject gender into something that had no gender in it.

The implication is that surely a woman would never do something despicable in a 911 call. Remember Susan Smith who drowned her two young boys in a lake. (The car sank slowly). She called 911 and said two black men had kidnapped the boys.

As with all cases involving women comitting a serious crime all reporters cannot resist using their favorite word BIZARRE. A toddler was murdered in Florida in 2008 probably at the hands of her mother. The mother's name is Casey Anthony. When the murderer or perpetrator is of the female persuasion the media ALWAYS leads the public along with a tone suggesting this is an anomaly. Count how many times the word BIZARRE comes up. They love it, especially the female commentators because it cannotes something out of the ordinary. The subtext being men do this, not women. "It's just so bizarre!" How many times do we hear of infants being found in dumpsters put their by the birth mothers. A lot. Then there are the murderers who cut out the babies from other women.
Just down the road the same week as Wendy Murphy's sarcastic introduction Darlene Haynes, 23, was eight months pregnant when she was found mutilated dead in a closet in her apartment. Her unborn daughter, whom family said she planned to name Sheila Marie, had been cut out and taken. 35-year-old Julie Corey, who is accused of kidnapping the baby and fleeing to New Hampshire, was arrested and was ordered held on $2 million bail . She did not waive extradition to be brought back to Massachusetts, and the judge scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30.
Several times in recent years the women have killed the fetus too. We don't know the names of these women. They should be demonized as much as a name we know, Scott Peterson, who committed the exact same crime. Boy do we know his name.
I have always said that if you take a transcript of an Oprah Winfrey show which is almost exclusively based on women's issues and inserted the "N" word in place of the word "man" or "men" it would sound like a Ku Klux Klan rally. The atmosphere in the country has been this way for quite some time.en this way for quite some time.
Not too long ago a survey was conducted of 1000 radio and tv commercials. It was looking for a percentage of those 1000 commercials which depicted men as stupid, clueless or buffoons. They were shocked to learn that ALL 1000 commercials depicted men this way.
It has spilled into family court. I know this from personal experience. My story there would be enough for a separate blog. Let's just say my ex kept remarrying, then had abusive husband (number 3) adopt my daughter without my consent, changing husbands and states 3 times. I didn't know where my daughter was most of those years, so where was I supposed to send a child support check? My daugther is now 39. I haven't seen her since she was 8. The courts protected my ex all along the way. Every time pandering Oprah or those of her ilk talk about deadbeat dads I am right there in the statistics..

Walter Conkite just died. The "journalist" Katie Couric who sits in his chair on The CBS Evening News once giggled about a husband being castrated when she was on the Today Show. If her ambulance chasing partner Matt Lauer had snickered about female castration I think his career would have been over.
I agree with comedienne Paula Poundstone when she couldn't understand the glee some women had about the ending of the movie "Thelma and Louise" She said "Excuse me, murder is a crime."
The movie "Monster" makes some effort in explaining the reasons for serial killer Aileen Wournos. Let's quote from a review : "In the film it seemed that Wuornos killed to keep Selby happy and in love with her. There may be some truth to this, but I'm sure that the real Aileen Wuornos wanted the money just as much for herself. The real Wuornos had previously served time in jail for robbery. She was also previously married to a wealthy elderly man who had their marriage annulled, claiming that Wuornos had beat him with his cane to get more money out of him. The movie chose to ignore much of the deviant behavior in Wuornos' past. Instead, its focus was on a more compassionate side of Wuornos that was likely not as prevalent in reality. In the end, I realize that this is a movie and that most people in the audience will be unaware of Wuornos' life prior to what was chronicled in the film . However, the often caring, human side that I saw in the film may be more fiction than reality." By the way it is doubtful the star of the film Charlize Theron entered the project with an open mind. You see Charlize's mother in real life murdered her father. Charlize mother said it was self defense and was not charged. Charlize was 15 and watched the shooting.
One more Hollywood reference. When I went to San Diego State Film School in the early seventies my writing teacher Nate Monaster former head of the Writer's Guild went out of his way to say he hated Jerry Lewis, so did visiting speakers Rod Serling and director Jerry Paris. It was because he would be not only obnoxious as a film director but wouldn't let the crew do their jobs, micromanaging and screaming at everyone on the set. Barbra Streisand does the same thing and they say people call her difficult because she's a woman. No. She's Jerry Lewis.
Researchers say that 25 per cent of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cases are actually murders by the mothers, benignly referred to as Munchausen by proxy. I say there must be many cases where women aren't even investigated in murder cases because they put blinders on. They are afflicted by TJTB syndrome. "That's just too bizarre."
Andrea Yates down in Texas drowned her kids, is not in prison and is not viewed a culpable for the crime. Her 2002 conviction was overturned. John List killed his family in New Jersey for the same wacko religious reasons, died in prison and no effort is ever made to excuse his acts.

When male teachers have an affair with a female student they are viewed as rapists, pure and simple. No psychologists pile into tv studios to examine the motivation of these men.. When Mary Kay Letourneau is convicted of statutory rape she gets a sympathetic phone call from Oprah and is deemed as "in love".

Recently on a new MSNBC show "Morning Meeting" with Dylin Ratigan there was a story regarding a drunk driving conviction of a woman in a case where many people were killed. This lead to a discussion of recent statistics which show female DUI's are on the rise while DUI's of men are declining. Women on the panel went directly into an insane defensive mode. Well women are more in business now and they are smaller in stature and in these informal business meetings they are asked to match drink for drink. I'm 63, a male and NEVER EVER in business or otherwise have been pressured to match drink for drink on any ocassion. As for physical stature one would therefore conclude that Mickey Rooney would have killed a thousand people by now.

I want equality. If you think Jerry Lewis is an ass don't base it on his anatomy. The same goes for Barbra Steisand. If you think a teacher is wrong to have sex with a student please don't say boys enjoy it more and the female teacher is just in love. Male and female teachers doing that are equally statutory rapists. If a parent murders a child they are equally murderers. Save the reasons for criminologists.
Instead of knocking three men having a beer at the White House (which was the suggestion of the cop) I'd love to know about women sitting down with men and having some drinks and talking without demonizing each other.

But then there was the immature lunch meetings on "Sex and The City". That show was very sucessful. Should we say it's a girl thing? Bizarre world.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Night I Met Frank

It was Spring Break, April 1966. As a college student I wasn't going to do the classic "Where the Boys are" Florida trip until the following year. But it was still exciting. We lived in Baldwin Long Island and my parents were going to take the family to Las Vegas.

Ever since 1959's "Mack The Knife" by Bobby Darin my wayward ways away from my generation had begun. Presley, classic rock and roll , Motown and the Beatles were ok but not my cup of tea. Months before Darin's big hit, on July 4th 1958 at age 12 I went to my first jazz concert in Atlantic City New Jersey. And what a concert it was. The Count Basie Orchestra, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dinah Washington, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. I was hooked, then after Darin I progressed to Frank Sinatra. In the New York City area WNEW was the summit for this type of music and people like Ted Brown and William B Williams, the first to call Frank Sinatra "Chairman of the Board", fed me more and more of Frank and Jazz.

In 1964 I was the office boy in New York at my father's advertising agency at 488 Madison avenue, "The Look Magazine Building". I worked as a gofer with the graphic artists the Walsh Brothers, Mike and Marty. Both were great fun, they loved jazz and the movies. Sometimes at their drafting tables the would run though all the diologue between John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in "Red River".

Marty was the younger of the two and he tooked me under his wing, especially during lunch time. We would go to the Blarney Stone or another Irish bar on Third Avenue for French Dipped sandwiches. On the way he would guide me in building my collection of Frank Sinatra LP's. I would have to get "A Swingin' Affair" but in the seminal "Song's for Swinging Lover's" I must notice the way Frank gets in all the words in phrasing of "Too Marvelous for For Words" when he repeats "ever be ever be in Webster's Dictionary". On the way back to the office we would go to a record shop up creaking wooden steps on 44th street. As you went up you saw the words painted on some of the steps "Everything from Bunk to Monk" Legend had it that the great Jazz sax player Lester Young would slip up there surrounded by a million LP's, listen to Sinatra ballads and have tears in his eyes. At eighteen I had some educational lunches. Fast forward 20 months.

So now we were landing in Vegas six years after the original "Ocean's Eleven" and five months after Sinatra's 50th birthday. He had been everywhere for that celebration, I had seen him the first time at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. The first of his great TV specials, then getting a pie in the face on The Soupy Sales Show (along with William B Willams, Sammy Davis and Trini Lopez), the LP's "Sinatra At the Sands" and "A Man and His Music". Then there was the movie "Von Ryan's Express" with ending that still bothers a lot of people.

We checked into the Dunes hotel next to a new hole in the Vegas ground. Something called Caesar's Palace was going to be built soon. The marque at the Sands said Dean Martin so I thought we would at least see a piece of the pack but not the leader. I was 19 but was trying to act adult as I wandered through the Dunes during the day. I was really there, slots, people yelling at the crap tables. Under age but tall, security left me alone. Then some at the crap tables started to whisper to each other. As I walked on I heard people walking around talking excitedly. I heard "Did you hear..." What the hell was it? I walked where the crap yellers weren't so loud. "Sinatra's turning his plane around. He's coming here!" Then I heard it again. "He's coming in with a bunch of people. Mexico wouldn't let him land!" I ran up to my parents in the room.

My father wasn't sure if it was really true. My mother thought it was probably wrong gossip. I pressed on. "What if it was true? They say he will take the stage tonight! You gotta call Murray."
Most of the ad agency's business in New York was industrial chemicals, BASF, Continental Oil but there was a sports connection. Some business conducted with offices space leased to people like Murray Goodman. Murray was a classic old time boxing promoter and columnist, short of stature, cigar in hand and a devilish grin on his face. He knew everyone from Joe Lewis to Jane Mansfield. His son, Bob, a little older than me, would sometimes come to the office with him. Bob is now Don King's main man. So my father finally did call Murray back in New York. Murray called Jack Entratter in Vegas who ran the Sands.. Murray secured us ringside seats for that night, but did not verify who would be on stage besides Dean Martin.

Even with reservations there was a long line to wait to get into the dinner show (price $9.95 each). There was to be five of us, friends of my parents, Charlie and Milred Emmanuel and me . Charlie knew some other notorious Frank fans. Charlie ran most of the car rentals at JFK airport and had do deal with some colorful characters. My younger sister Barbara, earlier in the day had thrown a tantrum wanting to fly back to her friends on Long Island. She flew back that afternoon living to regret the night she would miss, April 13th, 1966.

The cocktail waitresses kept coming by the line with more drinks. Years later my father would have to join AA but he was in booze heaven that night. We finally are seated ringside thanks to Murray and ate and drank some more. I was not being carded. Just before the lights dim my father says "You better be right." It was dark and silent. Somewhere at mid stage, a match lit. Then the voice.."When I was seventeen it was a very good year...." The place went crazy. Needless to say what a great show it was. Dean Martin sang his recent hit "Houston" They did their stick with the portable bar rolled out. Joey Bishop skipped on stage carrying a lantern. Don't remember what that was about. Other friends like Tony Curtis who were on the plane were there. The night before they were trying to land Sinatra's private jet at Mexico City. Who ever was head of the Mexican government at that time told the airport not to let Sinatra land. It seems they were pissed at Frank's most recent film "Marriage on the Rock's" which made fun of quicky Mexican divorces. So fate was with Rat Pack fans that week in Las Vegas. As it turned out it was the very last time they were to be on stage together at The Sands.

And so my father kept drinking through the show. We left the Copa Room with the Basie beat in our ears. Yes we had the Count too. We found ourselves at the small cocktail lounge on the side of the casino. It led to the dining room. The women in our group went to the ladies room. My father and I approached the bar. It was full and we were standing behind two seated gentlemen. God it was Count Basie and his sax man Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. So what does my marinated father do? He slaps Count Basie on the back. He didn't know Count Basie. "Hey Count! Let me buy you guys a drink!" Count and Lockjaw smile and say sure. It's neat but I'm concerned what my father is going to do next. After all I'm trying to be a cool adult.

Then oh shit out of the corner of my eye heading for the bar, alone, no bodyguards, comes Frank Sinatra. He approaches his pal Basie. We look like Basie pals. My father turns toward Frank. Oh shit. Why didn't I go to the ladies room too. "Frank!" he yells. My father didn't know Frank Sinatra. "This kid loves you! He's got all your records!" I was 19 trying to act 30. Now I'm six. "Frank, can he have your autograph?" I did not collect autographs. I turn to look at those blue eyes. Those eyes are penetrating my father's eyes. What was he thinking should be done with my father? Whatever it was, was probably kinder than what I wanted. Sinatra turns to look at me, in the throes of a nervous breakdown. The blue eyes soften. My father shoves a pen in his hand, Frank signs a table card and goes on into dinner with songwriter Sammy Cahn.

I look at my father. "What, what?", he says. I shake my head. The ladies return and they all head for the gambling. I tell them this night I'm staying out. I will see them later. I continue to stroll the casino. Sinatra is everywhere, laughing, greeting ladies at the slot machines. He goes to the change booth and kiddingly demands mexican pesos. I keep a safe distance to watch the fun. Hours race by. It's now 3 a.m. and there are good sounds coming out of the lounge. You could stand on the side and watch it for free.
This is what was going on......

It was Louis Prima and fifth and final wife singer Gia Miaone along with Sam Butera and the Witnesses. The joint was jumping. I look and in the front row is Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. A few songs more and they are up on stage with the whole group. I can't believe what I am watching for free. It goes on and on. I leave at 6 am and begin walking down the strip towards The Dunes. The sun is coming up. Why isn't Sammy Davis next to me singing Eeee Oh Eleven?

What a night। When I get to the room my parents were packing while getting ready to call the police. We were flying out a 9 am. My father thought I had found a hooker. I didn't have money for one but it was a nice thought.

I saw Frank again in 1976 at Caesar's Palace and in 1986 at The Golden Nugget. He still sounded great but how could it match The Rat Pack's last stand at The Sands?

They blew it up in 1996. Now the stages are a mile wide. Magic acts, smoke, lasers and Celine Dione. I don't think so.

Monday, April 28, 2008


The smiling creature in the red robes is worse than Tony Soprano, has effected more lives than any mafia don you can think of.

The Organized Crime Control Act (U.S., 1970) defines organized crime as "The unlawful activities of ... a highly organized, disciplined association...". Sounds about right. We will go through the statistics
offered by reputable studies on the WORLDWIDE (not just here as suggested by the last Pope who they are rushing to make a saint) molestation of altar boys. Let's see how "The Holy Father" stacks up in the evil derby against Osama.

Just as I was formulating this as my next blog, Bill Maher beat me to the punch. Organized religion is organized religion and abused teenagers, male or female, brainwashed or not, are abused teenagers. So I don't think Bill Maher was comparing apples and oranges when he said the following on a recent show. " I know what you're thinking. Bill, you can't be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy Texas cult. For one thing, altar boys can't even get pregnant. But really, what tripped up the little cult on the prairie was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands all over the world. Cults get raided; religions get parades.
How does the Catholic Church get away with all of their buggery? Volume, volume, volume. If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you pope."

The Pope, used to be called Cardinal Ratzinger, perfect name for a former Nazi don't you think. Oh yes, he was a teenager and forced into it. Mmmmmmm, sound familiar. I guess since he chose not to climb into the hills of Switzerland a la Julie Andrews and the kids, but to remain and shoot anti aircraft guns at American planes for well over a year, he thinks thousands upon thousands of altarboys should stick with the program of getting raped over and over again. Why make waves? These guys have uniforms. But I digress.

Cardinal Ratzinger was Frank Nitti to Pope John Paul II's Al Capone. In the job John Paul Capone gave him, Ratzinger Nitti wrote a memo to the bishops instructing them to cover up for the child raping priests until their statute of limitations ran out. That can't be true you say. Well it is and he did a lot more to conspire to let these priests continue, all over the world. What if the head of Time Warner, Hershey Chocolate, or United Airlines, or you or me for that matter, were found to have been involved in a conspiracy to not only cover up but to encourage (through transfers) the molestation and rape of thousands of young boys? You can imagine the length of sentences handed down. So what did the United States do a few weeks ago? Gave him the parades and fancy lunches Maher speaks of.


In May 2005 lawyers for Pope Benedict XVI asked US President George W. Bush to declare the pontiff immune from liability in a lawsuit that accuses him of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys by a seminarian in Texas. Texas, it's not another country. But hey, if you think you are and want to go, go. You won't escape Frank Nitti though. He's global.

The Vatican's embassy in Washington sent a diplomatic memo to the State Department on May 20, 2005 requesting the US government grant the pope immunity because he is a head of state, according to a May 26 motion submitted by the pope's lawyers in US District Court for the Southern Division of Texas in Houston.
Joseph Ratzinger was named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit. Now Benedict XVI, accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to cover up the abuse during the mid-1990s. The suit sought unspecified monetary damages.

International legal experts said it would be "virtually impossible" for the case to succeed because the pope, as a head of state, had diplomatic immunity. "There's really no question at all, not the vaguest legal doubt, that he's immune from the suit, period," said Paolo Carozza, an international law specialist at the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Nevertheless, lawyers for abuse victims said the case was significant because previous attempts to implicate the Vatican, the pope or other high-ranking church officials in US sex abuse proceedings failed - primarily because of immunity claims and the difficulty serving top Vatican officials with US lawsuits.

Attorney Daniel Shea, who represented one of the three boys in the civil suit in Houston, said that then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who headed the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before becoming pope, was involved in a conspiracy to hide Patino-Arango's crimes and to help him escape prosecution.

In the lawsuit, Shea cited that May 18, 2001, letter from Ratzinger, written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that "grave" crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation. The proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to "pontifical secret," Ratzinger's letter says. "Ratzinger's involvement arises out of this letter, which demonstrates the clear intent to conceal the crimes involved," Shea said.

Well, George W. pardoned the current Pope in advance anyway, just to be safe and just like Ford did for Nixon. But for thousands of victims their long nightmare will never be over.

The John Jay Report was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and was based on surveys completed by the Catholic dioceses in the United States. So we are talking about a report based on a truth level tantamount to....pick your poison...General Westmoreland's body count in Vietnam, or , say Colin Powell, the man who back then helped cover up the Mi Lai massacre..yeah that guy, who gave such a masterful report on all those WMDs in his report to sell the Iraq war at the UN. Whatever, let's just go with the phony low ball numbers of The John Jay Report..4,392 priests in the U.S. alone. Instead of hundreds of altarboys as has been widely reported for many many priests, let's give them ten a piece. That's slightly under 44,000 lives severely damaged. How many died on 911? under 4,000 I think.

Unlike Osama, the Pope couldn't run into a cave. He had better digs. Why run? Was there anybody with any real power chasing him? The U. S. bishops did their part. Even though they were running from responsibility, fighting the suits at every turn, a lot of victims won in court. What did the church do? Of course on instructions from the Vatican, the following dioceses declared bankruptcy to beat the financial rap. Portland, Oregon. Spokane, Washington. Tuscon Arizona. Davenport, Iowa. San Diego, Ca.

And what does Bill O'Reilly say about Maher? That it's open season on Christians, yes the old liberal bias, not mentioning that Maher, like George Carlin, is an equal opportunity attacker when it comes to organized religion.

I sometimes think I could have stopped O'Reilly. I didn't know it at the time but when I was a senior at Chaminade High School on long Island in 1964, O'Reilly was a freshman. Don't know what I could've done but maybe if it was gonna be bad PR for the school and the Church, those wonderful Marist Brothers would have covered it up for me.

Other Celebrity graduates of my high school: Actor Brian Dennehy, class of '56, who for years gave interviews elaborating his military service in Vietnam. He later begged the author of "Stolen Valour" not to publish that Dennehy had never gotten further than Guam. The one that got me to tell them to cancel their alumni junk mail to me, was former Senator Alphonse D'amato, class of '55. I watched on C-Span as a vote was being debated on the senate floor to provide a little money to the poor workers at Studebaker who had lost their pensions. Never had I seen such passion on tv as D'amato shouted that hey shouldn't get a dime. Ahh, what would Jesus do, Al? No need to ask, haven't spoken to him lately but if he's like some say he is, he left the building while Ratzinger was at that anti aircraft gun.

So Little King George, you say, " wanted, dead or alive" for Osama, then pardon and have lunch with Ratzinger. I say they are both evil but the guy at lunch wins the prize.

Recommended viewing: Rent a DVD documentary called "Deliver Us From Evil"

Go to a theater and see "Religulous" this October , Bill Maher's documentary on organized religion.

Friday, April 4, 2008


These are the unpleasant facts.

Heather Mills and Paul McCartney announced their separation in 2006, leading to an acrimonious divorce battle, the run-up to which was played out in public, most notably in the British tabloids.
In March 2008, Mills was awarded £24.3 million ($48.7 million), plus payments of £35,000 ($70,000) per annum, and nanny and school costs for their daughter, Beatrice.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Bennett described Mills as a "kindly person" who is devoted to her charitable causes, with a strong-willed and determined personality, who has shown great fortitude in overcoming her disability, and who argued her case with a "steely, yet courteous, determination." He added that he regretted to say her testimony appeared "inconsistent and inaccurate", and "less than candid." Feelings reportedly ran high during the hearing, to the point where Mills poured a jug of water over the head of McCartney's solicitor, Fiona Shackleton

Apparently Heather wound up with less than she was offered before she became her own attorney, a measely 48 million. She then declared victory, must be a McCain fan. Yes Paul can afford it. But how did she earn THAT much? If his first wife Linda got something like that I could see it. Linda, who was the love of his life, was a part of his band, Wings.

This is just a poor excuse for me to drift back to when I saw the Beatles in person. It was August 1964 and it was to be the Beatles first appearance in New York. No not Shea Stadium. And by the way, Boomers and others, Elvis Presley's first television network appearance was NOT The Ed Sullivan Show. The answer is down below. *

My father was riding high as part owner of an advertising agency located on the second floor of the Look Building at 488 Madison Avenue in New York City। Look was a long ago magazine that rivaled Life Magazine. It was the summer after my graduation from high school and I was the office boy. Our receptionist was Playboy Bunny material so this 18 year old had a tendency to hang aroung the front desk. I overheard her on the phone with a ticket broker. She was saying "really? No kidding." I said "What? What?" She put her hand over the mouthpiece and said that a company had just pulled out of purchasing the last 40 tickets to the first Beatles concert in New York City. I said "Hold the phone." Thus began my first business deal.

I went into my father's wall to wall white office and said I needed to borrow $280. right away. Yes, the Beatle tickets were $7. each. He said "Are you sure? " I told him this Beatle thing is big and I could make some money. That afternoon the tickets were mine.

Several of my friends of course wanted to go। But I had 40 tickets. I went all around Long Island telling people I had those last tickets to the Beatles. They didn't believe the tickets were real. In the end the tickets were sold to friends and friends of friends at $8 a piece.
So the big night arrived. We all drove into Queens to the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium where summer concerts happen every year. It is horsehoe shaped, seating 14,000, a stage opposite the horsehoe, grass down below. It was summer so plenty bright at 7 pm. The most excited in our group was Tim McGrath. He was a little twisted, later to survive Viet Nam, somewhat more twisted. He had a tendancy to unexpectedly break into singing the song "Sukiyaki" by Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto, which was a big hit here in 1963।

We waited the next hour as the seats filled up with an alarming amout of 13 year old girls। We waited some more as the sun started to sink. Everyone started to clap impatiently. Then the sound of a helicopter was heard approaching. It was a big blue one. Out beyond the stage was still more grass and that's where the helicopter landed. You could see them running toward the back of the stage: Ringo, John, Paul and George. Those 13 year old girls began to scream. They would never stop.

They took the stage। Down on the grass separating the seats and the stage there were wire fence baricades every 20 feet. Police were near the fences and the stage. While the girls screamed they constantly took flashbulb pictures. They went into their second song. We still couldn't hear them. Song three. Song Four. Tim Mcgrath was now holding his head bent down beneath his knees softly singing a very depressed version of "Sukiyaki".

Song Five, screaming and flashbulbs still going, three girls decided to go for it. They were climbing over the barriers down on the grass. Cops were trying to head them off. But one tall girl was beating the odds. Just missing a cop at the last barrier she got up onto the stage and wrapped herself around George Harrison's leg. Another girl almost made it but was tackled by a cop right on stage. More were coming. That was the end - 5 songs, 26 minutes. We didn't hear a note.

We could see them run back onto the helicopter. Shocked isn't quite the word to capture how we felt. I had planned that we go to manhattan that night to a comedy club called "Jackie Cannon's Rat Fink Room". ( 90 per cent of all comedians in the 50's 60's and 70's had the first name Jackie) It was fun but not enough to ease our pain.

We certainly detested those 13 year old girls।

Beware, they are 57 now and still out there. And so is Heather.

*Elvis Presley's first network television appearance was on January 28th 1956 on "Stage Show" starring Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, a summer replacement for Jackie Gleason. Presley didn't appear on Ed Sullivan until Sept. 9th, 1956