Monday, January 25, 2010

Conan O'Brien: The "King of Late Night TV" or "The World"?

Whether we're talking countries, companies, families or friends, charity really does begin at home...particularly and especially when there is absolutely nothing in it for the giver...including a tax write-off.

That said, anyone who says or does ANY kind of good in ANY fashion is, of course, a wonderful thing...whether they benefit from it or not. We're all just trying to so the best we can. And yes, we should first take care of our "own." But there is no "us" or "them." We're all in this together. We are each other's children...each other's parents...brothers and sisters...and children of the ONE GREAT LIGHT OF HEAVEN

Ultimately, some may say I'm an idealist. And ideally, then, in my opinion, when it comes to Haiti, for example, celebrities need to step up to the plate and get their priorities straight. So many, many people look up to them. Whether they like it or not. It's a fact. And they have the power to change the world.

How truly great a man would Conan O'Brien be if he gave even a million of that 35-45 million to Haiti? In doing so, he'd be more than a TV star. He'd be a true guiding LIGHT.

Indeed, James Cameron would have nothing on him. For Conan would be the real "King of the World."

And that One Great Light of Heaven would shine down on EVERY and EACH of us.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bart Andrews Passes Away: Iconic "I Love Lucy" Book Author and Literary Agent

Bart Andrews believed in my work, long before anyone else did. It was because of his impeccable "I LOVE LUCY" BOOK that I was inspired to write THE "BEWITCHED" BOOK. He was my first agent in submitting the idea and he helped to form and shape the winning proposal that ultimately sold the book and ignited my career.

God bless you, Bart...forever.

[Below is a tribute to Bart that appeared in today's Los Angeles Times.]


By Valerie J. Nelson

January 21, 2010

Bart Andrews, a prolific author of TV trivia tomes who wrote "The 'I Love Lucy' Book," an early definitive appreciation of the classic sitcom, has died. He was 64.

Andrews died Dec. 26 at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center following a heart attack, said his sister, Cathy LaGreca. After a series of strokes, he had moved four years ago from West Hollywood to a nursing home in Los Angeles.

"He was the first guy to ever write a history of the 'Lucy' show. It was the first book," said Lucie Arnaz, daughter of the program's stars, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

"It has been extremely helpful to the estate," Arnaz told The Times last week. "Early on . . . that was the book you went to."

Although Andrews was born Feb. 25, 1945, in Brooklyn, N.Y., in a sense his "real birth" took place on Aug. 8, 1950, the day his father brought home the family's first TV set, Burt Prelutsky wrote in The Times in 1977. It was a 12-inch RCA Victor.

"After that, I'd rush home and watch anything," Andrews said in the article. He also recalled the shock he felt as a child when he attended a taping of the "Howdy Doody" show and "couldn't believe" the star was "only just a puppet."

His world was forever altered when his parents tuned in to the Oct. 15, 1951, premiere of "Lucy," he wrote in "The 'I Love Lucy' Quiz Book." His parents "let me stay up past my bedtime to watch."

As an adult, Andrews said he could name the title of any of the 179 "I Love Lucy" episodes when given three words from the script -- "unless the line is 'Honey, I'm home.' "

He considered the discovery of the long-missing unaired pilot episode -- a copy was found in 1990 -- "the biggest find in terms of archival material in the history" of TV.

By then, he had written more than 25 books, most of them TV-related with "Trivia" or "Quiz" in the title. His final book, "Out of the Madness," was an unauthorized biography of Janet Jackson published in 1994.

The four books he wrote about Ball and her seminal comedy turned Andrews into an acknowledged expert on the sitcom that unfailingly made him laugh.

"The 'I Love Lucy' Book," released in 1985, was a revised and expanded version of a 1976 book that he co-wrote, "Lucy & Ricky & Fred & Ethel." Amid the minutiae were nuggets of "refreshing dissonances," according to a 1976 review of the earlier book. They included a quote from William Frawley, who played Fred Mertz, on Vivian Vance, who portrayed his TV wife, Ethel: "I don't know where she is now and she doesn't know where I am and that's exactly the way I like it."

The idea for a writing career based mainly on esoterica from the airwaves grew out of a family gathering where younger cousins failed to stump Andrews with TV trivia.

"After I got home, I wrote out 20 questions and mailed them to the boys with the promise to send them answers in a week," Andrews told The Times in 1977. "In the meantime, I ran into a friend in publishing who thought there might be a book in that sort of thing. And I've been at it ever since."

He was born Andrew Stephen Ferreri, the second of two children of businessman Joseph Ferreri and his wife, Camille, and grew up in New York City.

After attending New York University, he moved to Los Angeles to work for pioneering TV producer Sheldon Leonard as Bart Andrews, a pen name he adopted in high school. He became a freelance writer and literary agent before finding his niche in trivia.

At his West Hollywood apartment, he devoted a room to his extensive "I Love Lucy" memorabilia, which included a photograph of the show's cast displayed atop his family's first TV. For years, Andrews drove a 1953 Pontiac with a license plate that read "I LV LCY."

His sister is his only immediate survivor.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Near-Death Experience Wisdom From My Friend "Rudenski" via

"In some cultures they do not have a concept of God or even have a proper name for God. A very well known NDE Experiencer, who died and came back with true knowledge from the other side stated that dogmas of this world made her ill with cancer. She came back and her cancer was healed but not by any God of religious dogma."

Anita M: "The human created dogma that I had perceived as “truth” during my lifetime, weighed me down at a personal level, to a point where I became ill. But the knowledge that it was not truth, but just a game that humans play, was all I needed to know, to get me out."

"Anita did not find God in her NDE but she did find her 'truth' that healed her body and set her free."

"I had a NDE over two decades ago and did meet God or at least something I called 'God.' I apologize if this is long winded. I usually can't say my 'truth' in as few words as Anita M but...

"In my own NDE, I found there was some type of intelligence to the light I met... not just pure love with no plan. My NDE did have a lot of religious symbolism (i.e. angels, a Jesus-like being, a court room, elders, a library with books of our life, a road with streets of a gold color - not metal - and all types of other religious trappings) but whoever or whatever was on the other side had to know my religion inside and out because I did not know the heaven of my religion was a boxy shaped place and I did not know about the cherubim that floated around God. They were there before I ever heard or read a word about them so at a bare minimum, there is something on the other side that was wanting me to see my religion through my dogma but also to show me that other souls who did not believe in my dogmas were going to also get whatever the best parts of their dogmas were in the same place I went."

"In my religion it says there are many mansions. So, I can only determine that while I actually met some type of intelligent being who seemed to loosely be called 'God' the being I met did not deny that name so it must have believed it was alright for me to have a religious outlook to frame the learning I would receive when I returned.

"Not withstanding - whenever I returned from my NDE and the teachers of my religion began to bash homeless people, divorcees, Catholics, homosexuals, Atheists, Muslims, Communists. poor people or anyone else, I would walk out because I could discern they were lying about the God of my religion. I always gave the religious teacher a second chance but if they did the same thing again. I would walk out again, mid-sentence and never return. Whatever the light is, and I call it the sum of all love and a lot of religious names, but the sum of all love is what my light was.... The light loves the very people the religious people of my religion told me God hated. If everyone just walked out when their religious salesmen started talking smack about people the light loves then maybe they would quit lying but I think people like to believe they a better than others and are loved by 'God' or whatever deity they pray to.... more than some group of people.

"All in all though, my NDE used my own religion(that I didn't really even know) and showed me that it could still be a vehicle to use to help me through my life but I was going to have to ignore some of its more ugly tenets and I was going to have to cherry pick its sacred text to find within it a means to continue claiming that religion as my own...

"It is human nature to be competitive. If it is not pitting themselves against other nations then will often pit ourselves or beliefs against other people's beliefs or physical prowess. I know in my country, sports and war are the most profitable sales items in the boy's toy area. Rows and rows of toys with guns and bombs and row after row of sport's items that feed what boys crave. I know people like to play war in this world... I was a product of that craving as a child but at least my NDE gave me an understanding that killing my opponents did not please the God I met in my NDE...and it not just boys who like fighting...and there is a reason why women fighting each other are called 'cat fights.' It seems common sense to me that God does not want God's children fighting against one another but when I was still a young child I would hear the teachers of my religion preach about genocide of people of other religions as if that was what God wanted.

"My addiction, even after my NDE, was pitting myself against others in sports or games. I was always such a physical person and I still am but I broke my neck and recovered from it when I had my NDE. I have had to overcome two more serious neck injuries since I broke it the first time. Those down times put me in extreme pain and poverty for many years on end. I learned from those years to see what the light showed me in my NDE. I learned that the light didn't hate the poor. God didn't hate the blind(even though my religious texts said God cursed them).

"My job now is to teach blind adults and children how to adjust to blindness and go to learn skill that will allow them to work. I also learned that the light I met in heaven could love a homeless person because I became homeless after re-injuring my neck.

"I had given up on life and I got down on my knees and prayed to the God of my religion and he spoke to me and said, 'I did not promise you that people will not break your heart.'

"The voice then said, 'People will break your heart."

"The voice said something then that completely matched what I experienced years before in my NDE and my religion. The voice from the sky said, 'I promised you that I would never leave you nor forsake you.'

"Now that last part is straight from my religion but the other parts were not part of my religious understanding so my rounded out understanding from it all is that there is some way to integrate our religions into our lives, where it can still be beneficial to us, but we may need to discard some of its less than loving aspects... At least that is what I got from that post NDE meeting with my invisible religious deity.

"I have been addicted to computer chess, since the internet allowed one to play chess online with another... I have literally played tens of thousands of chess games against thousands of people from all over the world.

"I believe competition is bread into us. I lived in Mexico as a teacher for a year. When I lived in Mexico, I used to play soccer with the little kids and they were so proud that they could outplay me(an adult from another nation). I one time walked by the same kids and the were using bottle caps to pretend they were one army opposed to another army. I guess playing war doesn't to cost anything. They would flick one cap at each others formations of bottle caps to see which army was more powerful.

"A few months ago I finally quit playing computer chess but then I started playing a type of online pool the other night and played it until 3AM... so I know it is still in me... the need to dominate and crush my opponents but I saw in my NDE, outside of the planet a new version of earth where each spirit and soul were not in competition with one another... We were cooperatively helping one another, sharing our gifts with one another but there was no competitive tension.

"I am trying to teach my little one how to live but today they asked her in front of the peace church I attend what church means to her. She said to help people, to learn to love everyone everywhere, to talk to God, to help the homeless, and learn about love, 'because love is what one soul share with another soul.'

"I started crying...such profound words coming from a little five year old child. I know they teach that in childrens' religious Sunday school or Saturday School or Friday School but I wish the rabid mouthed teachers of religion all over the world would listen to Sunday school teachers, or by whatever name someone of school or home schooling might teach our little ones to love love one another. And even if some teachers do not believe in God then I would hope that they would believe in love, and it would all work out the same."


Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Hawaii Five-0" Catches New Wave By Way Of "Star Trek"

"Hawaii Five-O" Gets Greenlight (with the help of "Star Trek" Rebooters)
By Nellie Andreeva

Jan 15, 2010, 05:57 PM ET

"Hawaii Five-O" is a go.

CBS has greenlighted an updated version of the classic cop series from hot feature scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and "CSI: NY" executive producer Peter Lenkov.

The project, from CBS Studios, scored a sizable commitment when it landed at CBS in October.

It is described as an updated take on the original series that is centered on an elite branch of the Hawaii State Police headed by Steve McGarrett and answerable only to the governor.

The classic procedural, created by Leonard Freeman, ran on CBS from 1968-80 and became famous for its opening music and for its staple "Book 'em, Danno" closing line.

Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote the story for the pilot with Lenkov, who penned the script under their supervision. All three are executive producing.

CBS and CBS Studios, which has the rights to "Hawaii Five-O," first took a stab at developing a contemporary take last season with "Criminal Minds" executive producer/showrunner Ed Bernero.

Kurtzman and Orci, co-creators/exec producers of Fox's sophomore drama "Fringe," know a thing or two about reinvigorating TV series: They recently penned the J.J. Abrams-directed blockbuster "Star Trek." Their feature writing credits also include the two "Transformers" movies and "Mission: Impossible III."

Lenkov serves as exec producer/co-showrunner on CBS/CBS Studios crime drama "CSI: NY" alongside Pam Veasey.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Latest Reviews For THE "KUNG FU" BOOK OF CAINE @

"A must have for all Kung Fu fans!"
(December 28, 2009)

By CC "stuffaholic" (South Hadley, MA)

If, like me, you are a fan of the Kung Fu TV series, you will want this book. It is a sort of guide to the series. Each episode is outlined in good detail, and reveals behind the scenes ideas and intentions of the writer(s). It also says when each episode aired, who the guest stars where, like Don Johnson at 15! which happens to be one of my favorite episodes, in which he plays a young Indian boy. Anyone with the TV series in their library, should also have this book along side them. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews


"Beautiful Book"
(November 28, 2009)

By Mudiwa (Northern Virginia, USA)

A must-have for fans of the show, and fans of Carridine. Worth a look for martial arts fans, and anyone interested in TV or Asian cinema. The shimmering finish on the beautiful cover photo captures the spirit of the show; I'm glad they used that instead of one of the lurid pieces of fighting art that graced Kung Fu lunch boxes. Most of the book is a detailed episode guide, which is fine. There are lots of photos, both from the show, and from actors face shots, etc. One only wishes the book were longer, though it's not short by any means.

Let The Last Be First

Once, a few years ago in Santa Monica, I was standing in line at a bank. There was a gentleman ahead of me, who was called upon by a teller. He went to make his transaction, and he soon discovered that he misplaced his checkbook. He stepped away from the teller, and became quite frantic, going through his various jacket and pants pockets to look for his misplaced checkbook. I felt so bad for him, as well as did a few other people in line.

A few minutes later, to his delight, and to mine, he found his checkbook. In fact, everyone in line was so happy for him, that I commenced a break-out of applause, to which everyone else soon joined in.

Meanwhile, the teller, who originally helped the gentleman, had moved on to assisting another customer. So kind and humble, and now deleriously happy that he found his checkbook, the man walked way back to the end of the line, and began to wait patiently for the next available teller - at least seven people ahead of him.

At this point, I turned to everyone in line behind me - and in front of that particular gentleman, and asked, "Does anyone have any objection to letting this man go ahead of us, now that he found his checkbook?"

We all immediately broke-out into applause, accompanied by cheers - and made a path for the man to be first in line. His original teller, as well as all the other tellers, the security guard, and pretty much everyone else in the bank, just stood stunned at what they saw. As I and my kind companions in line, just continued to cheer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Bucket List For Life

I would like to sell a few more books and a couple of scripts, find a happy hottie who can love me for who I am (and not for what I can buy her), move back to Rochester, NY (near Eastview Mall), have a few kids, travel around the world, buy a home in a small village in Italy, bring as much Light to the world as possible and then turn it all into some great movie that touches everybody who sees it. That's my bucket list for life.

Embrace The Acting and Writing Brilliance Of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" As A Learning Tool

I advise every aspiring or veteran actor and writer (male and female) to attain a B.A. and Masters in THEARTE ARTS/DRAMA and TELEVISION/FILM - and to continue taking acting and writing classes (at a school or privately).

And if they're looking to perfect their comedic skills for the page or the stage?

Watch every episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" - again and again and again - and again.

"TV Land Taps Sitcom Vets For Pilot" (via The Hollywood Reporter)

By Nellie Andreeva
Jan 11, 2010, 11:00 PM ET

TV Land has tapped sitcom veterans Valerie Bertinelli ("One Day at a Time"), Jane Leeves ("Frasier"), Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me") and Betty White ("The Golden Girls") to star in its comedy pilot "Hot in Cleveland."

Written by "Frasier" alum Suzanne Martin, "Hot" revolves around three eccentric fortysomething best friends from L.A. (Bertinelli, Leeves, Malick) who wind up stuck in Cleveland and decide to stay there when they realize the locals consider them glamorous.

White plays a grumpy and opinionated lady who has lived in the cottage of the trio's Cleveland house for 50 years.

"Hot," from Sean Hayes' Hazy Mills Prods., is one of TV Land's first two pilots, along with the comedy "Retired at 35," which is toplined by Malick's "Shoot Me" co-star George Segal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Note From A New NBC Page

"Herbie...I just wanted you to know that after a year and a half of trying I will (soon) be starting the NBC Page Program. I used your book in my final panel interview and drew upon your story for inspiration and the determination to not take no as an answer. I just want to thank your for being a touch stone for me during this process."

My Life As A Page In A Book

Published by BearManor Media

Order your copy today.

Call: 580-252-3547 (and speak with Sandy Grabman)

Fax: 814-690-1559


Saturday, January 09, 2010

"Herbie - The Strong, Loyal Elm" (via The Associated Press)

YARMOUTH, Maine (Jan. 8) - The massive elm tree that shaded the corner of East Main Street and Yankee Drive was sick. Like so many others in so many of America's towns in the 1950s, it was stricken with Dutch elm disease.

Tree warden Frank Knight was so smitten with the tree that he couldn't bear to cut it down. After all, it had been standing sentinel in this New England village since before the American Revolution.

Over the next half-century, Knight carefully nursed the tree, spraying for pests and pruning away the dreaded fungus, even as the town's other elms died by the dozens. As he succeeded, the stately tree's branches reached 110 feet skyward, its leaves rustling in summer breezes off the Royal River and its heavy limbs shouldering winter snowfalls.

The tree, nicknamed Herbie and acclaimed as the tallest and oldest elm in New England, survived 14 bouts of Dutch elm disease in all, thanks to Knight's devotion.

Now the disease ravages again and Herbie is too weak to fight back. Knight, now 101, said there's nothing else he can do to save the tree he's watched over for five decades.

"He's an old friend," Knight said, speaking with passion while gazing up at the tree just before Christmas. "I love that tree. There's no question. And I feel so proud that we kept him for so long."

Herbie, estimated to be about 240 years old, will be cut down Jan. 18. Knight, consulted by tree experts who made the decision, is resigned that the end has come.

Elms Under Threat

American elms are as old as the nation itself.

In colonial Boston, the Sons of Liberty met under an American elm tree dubbed the Liberty Tree until it was cut down in 1775 by British loyalists. Eventually, American elms became the nation's most popular shade tree, their seeds carried westward by settlers.

The trees lined streets in towns from coast to coast.

But all that changed with startling speed because of the Dutch elm fungus, spread by bark beetles, beginning in Ohio in the 1930s. Once afflicted, elms faced a swift and an all-but-certain death. Diseased trees were quickly eliminated to save surrounding trees.

As Dutch elm arrived in Yarmouth in 1956, Knight was already middle-aged - married and with a son, running a logging business - when he was named tree warden.

Saving Yarmouth's elms was an impossible task.

Because elms had been planted in rows along streets, and because their roots became intertwined, one diseased tree could quickly infect its neighbors through their roots, taking out a block of trees in a matter of weeks, said Bill Livingston, a professor at the University of Maine.

Urban trees were hit the hardest. In Yarmouth, for example, there were more than 700 elms before the disease swept through. Now a dozen of those original trees remain.

The disease forever changed the looks of Main Street USA, claiming an estimated 100 million trees, all told.

"These trees grew so fast and so tall that their branches would reach across the street where basically it became a tunnel," Livingston said. "When the disease came in, it eliminated all of the trees and created a completely different setting - from a shaded urban landscape into a clear-cut landscape."

In the early days, the pesticide DDT was used to kill the bark beetles. Later, fungicides injected directly into the trees' roots had some success. Still, trees continued to die.

'Such a Beautiful Tree'

Knight quickly learned he couldn't save all the elms, so he focused his efforts on one special tree.

Its trunk was straight, and its limbs reached so far toward the heavens that its proud canopy, 120 feet wide, could be seen from miles away.

"He was such a beautiful tree. That's why I wouldn't cut it," said Knight, resting at home in his favorite chair, family photos on the wall and two clocks ticking away the time.

He instructed a crew to selectively prune away the damaged limbs. Over time, as the other elms succumbed, this tree somehow survived. And Knight's devotion grew.

Knight checked on it weekly, sometimes daily. His wife, Fran, didn't mind sharing his affection.

"My wife said, 'If that tree's name was Suzy, I'd be real jealous.' But she loved Herbie as much as I did," said Knight.

Donna Felker, who grew up in the house that shares Herbie's shade, is credited with naming him. One girlhood summer, wood cutters preparing to trim away more diseased limbs encountered Felker and her friends.

"'What are you going to do to Herbie? You can't cut Herbie,'" she recalled her friends' protesting.

Felker, now 68, remembers that the tree was a giant, even back then - so big that her parents feared that if might take out their house if it fell. But it would have cost too much to cut him down, so Herbie prevailed.

Over time, Herbie became a celebrity, nearly as famous for his ability to survive Dutch elm disease as for his massive height and canopy. Local schoolchildren learned about Herbie. Tree lovers from the world over came to see him or have their picture taken with him, Felker said.

Knight remembers the time police checked out a gathering of young women around Herbie. They were trying to see how many people it would take to give his 20-foot-plus circumference a hug.

"We used to say it took a family of five to hug Herbie. If you held hands around that trunk, and I've done it, that's what it took," said John Hansel, founder of the Elm Research Institute in Keene, N.H.

A tree the size of Herbie doesn't come down with a single cut and a shout of "Timber!"

Since Herbie's trunk alone weighs about 10 tons, a crane will assist as he's carefully dissected, one massive limb at a time, said Ted Armstrong, arborist with Whitney Tree Service, which is handling the job. After he's cut down, Herbie's true age will be revealed once the rings are counted at his base.

Herbie won't be hauled to the woodpile.

Instead, his remains will be kiln-dried in a mill. He'll eventually be transformed into salad bowls, Christmas ornaments and furniture. The total cost of his removal will be about $20,000.

A committee overseen by the new tree warden, Deb Hopkins, has been deciding how to divvy up Herbie's remains. Some of the wood will go to local artisans. Some will be auctioned, with part of the proceeds going to the town tree trust. Eventually, Hopkins hopes to build the tree fund to $200,000, with some being used to plant disease-resistant elms.

A Fact of Life

Now, during the dark days of winter, Knight and Herbie face their mortality together.

"His time has come," Knight said. "And mine is about due, too."

Knight, who uses a walker, jokes that his secret to a long life is raw spinach and beer, which he has each day for lunch. He rides a stationary bike for a mile each day, as well. He admits that he doesn't understand his own longevity any more than he understands Herbie's. Knight's father died when he was 3, his mother when he was 4. His wife died 15 years ago from cancer.

As the years passed, Knight thought for sure he'd be outlived by Herbie.

But he's made his peace with his old friend's fate.

"Nothing is forever. I don't want anybody to grieve when I go," he said. "Just be glad I could do what I did while I was here."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

"Seinfeld" Key Dialogue From Just About The Funniest Break-Up In TV History

MARLENE: ..I'm sorry, Jerry. I just don't think this is going to work.

JERRY: Really? I thought..

MARLENE: I know, I'm sorry.

JERRY: I guess I just didn't expect it from the way you've been acting.

MARLENE: You sure you want to talk about this? 'Cause I sure don't.

JERRY: Of course I want to talk about it.

MARLENE: Well, okay. I guess things changed for me on Tuesday night.

JERRY: Tuesday night? What happened Tuesday night?

MARLENE: ..I saw your act.

JERRY: My act? What does that have to do with anything?

MARLENE: Well, to be honest, it just didn't make it for me. It's just so much fluff.

JERRY: I can't believe this. So what are you saying? You didn't like my act, so that's it?

MARLENE: I can't be with someone if I don't respect what they do.

JERRY: You're a cashier!

(From "Seinfeld" Episode: "The Ex-Girlfriend" - Original Airdate 1/23/91 - Written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"A Candle Carol": The Sequel

A few weeks before Christmas, 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 posted I titled, "A Candle Carol."

A friend recently read the post, and emailed me her response. It was such a touching response, that I asked her if I could post it on my blog. She agreed. And 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, I have re-posted the original "Candle Carol."


"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 Dr. in Manhattan to try and conceive a baby about 2 years ago (this was after spending 2 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 Dr. 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.


"A Candle Carol"

by Herbie J Pilato

(originally posted December 11th, 2009)

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.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"Hot Ain't So Good When It's Cold"

In your search for true love ask yourself these questions:

Is the person you're interested in kind? Sweet-natured? Gentle?

Are they generous?

Do they believe in some good loving powerful being?

Are they mean-spirited? Sarcastic? Do they admit when they're wrong?

Do they care about their communities? Their cities? Their states? Their country? Their world?

Are they the type of person who could learn to love you for who you are and not for what you can do for them? Or buy them? Or give them?

Would they be strong enough to let you need them in your neediest moment?

Would they be there for you in your darkest hour or just when you're shining your Light?

Real basic questions but very important.

And yes - physical appeal is important. But as the old saying goes, "Beauty is only skin deep."

And looking hot is good. But hot ain't so good when it's cold.

"A Song of Peace"

"A Song of Peace"

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a prayer that peace transcends in every place;
and yet I pray for my beloved country --
the reassurance of continued grace:
Lord, help us find our one-ness,
in spite of differences of age and race.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth's kingdoms,
thy kingdom come, on earth, thy will be done;
let God be lifted up 'til all shall serve,
and hearts united, learn to live as one:
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations,
myself I give thee -- let thy will be done.