A Big “Thank You” to “Mr. Puppet”

I believe the saying goes “A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet!” Thanks to this blog and social media, I have been able to connect with some friends who I have never met face to face. One of those friends is Mr. Puppet.

A few days ago, I posted a blog about random acts of kindness. Today, I need to thank Mr. Puppet for an act of kindness that I was the recipient of. Before I tell you about that, let me tell you about him.

Mr. Puppet is Bob Abdou. He is a ventriloquist and puppet master who has been entertaining folks for many years. As I sat here trying to recall just how I connected with him, I realized that it could have been quite a few ways (all of them on Facebook). For example, it could have been because we are both Beatles fans. I belong to a few Beatles group pages and I may have met Bob on one of those. Is Bob a big fan? Well, he has “a few” Beatles collectibles.

….and a few more ….

… and a few more

….and remember the famous Abbey Road album cover?? Yeah, his Beatles puppets actually walked Abbey Road!!

It could have been through a Beatles page I became acquainted with him. It also could have been one of the Batman pages I follow. He’s a fan of the Caped Crusader, too!

Of course, maybe it was through a love for Spiderman or Marvel comic characters…?

Or maybe it was on a site about collectible Lunch Boxes or Classic Movies or TV Shows?

A better guess might be through a Three Stooges page …

In all honesty, however, I think we met through a mutual love of the legendary Soupy Sales.

He even has an original White Fang puppet in his collection!

Before going on, I think it is apparent from the above photos (all stolen from his Facebook page), that Bob is quite a collector. While I have never been to his home, I understand that it is not an odd thing for people to stay overnight at his place. I would imagine from all of the many photos that I have seen, his house is more like a museum. This incredible collection is simply amazing!

He has amazing stuff from Happy Days that even Henry Winkler would find fascinating!

And I can honestly say, no one I know – except Bob – has a Welcome Back, Kotter collection!!

Back to Soupy and how we met. Bob can correct me if I am wrong, but on one of the Soupy pages on Facebook he posted that Soupy Sales attended his wedding! I couldn’t even imagine how cool that would be! He posted a picture of Soupy with him and his wife, June.

Bob actually remembers the first words Soupy spoke to him at the Friars Club. He has them hanging in his home.

You can learn more about Bob, his shows, and more by surfing to his website:


Thank You!

On January 8th, I posted a small blurb on Facebook about it being Soupy’s Birthday. I included a couple links to past Soupy related blogs that I had written. I later discovered that I had received a private message from Bob:

“Hey Keith. Send me your home address. I have an item to send you soon. Thxs bob

Keep in mind, Bob and I have never met face to face. I know him through Facebook, we have chatted on occasion and we share a love for many of the same things (The Godfather, The Muppets, Dean Martin, Red Skelton, Hanna Barbera cartoons, and of course the other things I mentioned above). If it had been anyone else asking, I just would have ignored the message. But it was Bob, so why wouldn’t I send him my address? A few blogger friends have my address and have sent me books, Christmas cards, etc… So I sent it to him.

Today, I received the “item” he sent me. I was speechless. Truly. Included in the box was a note that reads, “Since we are both Soupy fans, I want you to have this special toy plaque.”

I have never seen this before. It is so cool! It is obviously Soupy doing his dance “The Mouse,” which was a number one song in New York City and a fan favorite.

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU, Bob! I will be sure to take good care of it! Your kindness speaks volumes of your character. I am so grateful to have connected with you. I hope to one day get to meet you in person, shake your hand, and compare White Fang impersonations. What a blessing it is to call you my friend! Thank you again!

Bob included his phone number with the package, and I plan on giving him a call in a few days to thank him personally, but for now, his generosity was something that I felt needed a place on the internet. (I also wanted to make sure I gave his website a plug!)

I also wanted to say that it feels good to be the person who performs random acts of kindness. However, when you are the recipient of one of those random acts, it really does feel extra special.

Relating to Cartoon Dogs

“Oh boy. Here goes Keith talking about that Bluey show again. Isn’t that a kid show? Why does he watch that?”

I relate to it! There, I said it. There are so many things about this show that I can relate to! For example, in our house, Sam and I cannot use the bathroom without one or both of the kids being in there with us. Bandit, Bluey’s dad, deals with that …

All he wants to do is poop for crying out loud! Look at that poor dog!

Another example which hold true in our house – the short amount of time it takes to go from clean to disaster.

I swear this just happened to me yesterday! The kids have this bowl of fake fruit and veggies that they play with. They keep all of it in a plastic Tupperware bowl. I literally walked all over the loving room picking up fake cucumbers, broccoli, onions, apples, bananas, avocadoes, tomatoes and more! I put them all back in the bowl and put them in the door of the fake kitchen. I went and got a cup of coffee and returned to the living room to find all of the contents of the bowl on the floor again!

The kids had Disney on the other morning and they were playing the episode called “Dunny.” In Australia, where Bluey lives, “dunny” is a slang term for toilet. The episode takes place in the parents bedroom. The kids are hanging out in bed with their parents and discussing why “dunny” isn’t an appropriate word for toilet.

This episode led to me thinking back to my childhood and I remember many Saturday mornings getting up and going into my folks bedroom. Many times we’d crawl into bed and just goof off. I truly wish I had more photos of those times. I have a few. First, one of my favorite photos of my mom and I (forgive me if I have posted these before).

I remember going in and waking her up. She’d always snuggle us and read books we brought in there. Those Saturday mornings were always so much fun.

My dad used to get in bed with us and wrestle with us. Sometimes he’d pretend to be Moe from the Three Stooges. There would be a “bear” we had to hide from and we’d get under the covers and hide. Sometimes he’d say he’d go check to see if the bear was still there and we’d be under the covers and he’d growl and grab at us from the top of the covers. We had so much fun when he did that!

Just the other morning, Ella and Andrew woke up and it was them, Sam and me in our bed. It was just a lot of silliness and me wrestling or tickling them and hiding under the covers.

I’m not sure what it is about being under covers that is cool. We built a fort with blankets and such the other day and they loved it. Then I started sitting on the floor and covering myself in a blanket and they’d come over and get under the “tent” with me. Sam even got into the fun the other morning!

So yeah, I watch Bluey. I relate to it more than any cartoon or kid’s show before it. The more I see an episode, the more I find myself saying, “I need to do that” or “I’ve done that!”

If you have toddlers, you have to check it out. If you’re an adult, you should to. In my opinion, it is the best.

One final example? Sure. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into the kid’s rooms after they fall asleep and just watch them. It’s not weird – only parents get it.

Brakes – Broke!

It wasn’t too long ago that my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, and I worked on the brakes on my car. Recently, I began to hear grinding on one of the back brakes. It was just the one and there was no indication that the pads were going before it began grinding.

If you are familiar with the brake pads, they have a little indicator thingy that when your pads are getting low, they begin to squeal a bit. My brakes never did that. The one side just started grinding – and bad.

The day I noticed it, I pulled into work and could see that the pad was tearing a huge gouge right in the middle of the rotor. The other side was fine. I couldn’t really figure out what happened. My brother-in-law and father-in-law thought I might have gotten a set of bad pads and one cracked. By the time we got a day to work on them, that pad had tore up the entire rotor on that side.

Mine was worse than this!!

They had gotten so loud that any time I stopped at a drive thru for coffee, the workers looked at me and the back end of my car as I drove up to the window. As I drove away, the watched as well, probably hoping to see sparks flying from the back wheels or something!

After calling around and getting estimates, I picked up the parts and we were blessed to have a nice day to work on them. My brother-in-law said it would be a “piece of cake” and the whole job should take less than an hour. We figured we’d jack up both ends at the same time and he could do one side while I did the other. Our time saving idea really didn’t work.

We forgot about one of the bolts that happened to be in a really tight place on the brake shoe. The nut sits in such a way that you can barely get a wrench in there to loosen or tighten it. The longest part of the job was getting to that particular nut. We had to painstakingly turn this nut little by little (maybe 1/8 turns at a time) until we could loosen them by hand. What a pain!

Once we got the old rotor off and the pads on back on the shoe, everything came together quickly. That is until we had to tighten that one bolt/nut again. I swear that was tedious! It took so much time.

Finally we got everything set and we put the tires back on. My father-in-law has a socket for the lug nuts. He also has a breaker bar which you put over the socket to tighten or loosen the nuts. Basically, the end of the socket goes into the hollow tube of the breaker bar. His is square, but this gives you a sort of idea as to what I am talking about:

So the tire is now on the ground and I have this socket in the pipe. I am tugging on all the lug nuts to be sure they are secure. I must not have had the socket one one of the nuts, because as I tugged on it, the bar slipped off the socket and because I was bent over, the thing came up and conked me on the forehead! The only thing missing was the “pipe konk” sound effect used in a Three Stooges film! I saw stars for a few, but recovered quickly.

The goose egg had gone down a lot by the time I took a picture of it. You can still see it and it still hurts like a bugger!!

I’m happy to say that despite the comedy interlude, the brakes are working fine. Thanks to my father-in-law and brother-in-law for their help once again!

Friday Photo Flashback

Time for another Friday Photo Flashback. This time around I’m taking you to my room….circa 1990.

The shelf you are looking at sat above my bed (a waterbed…lol). Above it was another shelf with the globe my grandmother had got me for Christmas, some ceramic pieces my mom made me and a few other things.

Just by looking at this picture, I can recall where everything else was in the room. To the right of this picture is the window that looks out to the front yard. On the wall opposite this one, my dresser sat in the corner. Directly next to it was a shelf that my cheap stereo system sat on.

(The stereo had a double cassette deck, turntable, radio tuner, and a place for a microphone. Long before I worked in radio, I made tapes for people with songs I recorded off the radio with me acting as DJ. I know I’d be embarrassed to hear those now!)

The closet was to the left of this picture. All along the walls were photos, posters, and your typical teen wall decor. The shelf pictured here was the focal point of the room.In a way, this shelf encompasses “me.”

Centered on it are the (now long gone) Three Stooges figurines. I really wish I still had them. I marvelled at the detail of the faces when I first saw them. They were fairly expensive when they came out. They represent “humor,” which has always been important in my life. To laugh and make people laugh … It’s a very big part of who I was/am.

Above the Stooges, a treble clef and music notes hang. Both were gifts from my mom. I’m sure the clef hung elsewhere in the house before she gave it to me. Music has always been important to me and continues to be.

To the left of Larry is an award I got in my senior year. I think it was for “Best Dancer” which is ridiculous. I probably only got the award because I did the Curly Shuffle once at a band party. I’ve never claimed to be a dancer. Perhaps when I hit my goal weight, I will think about a dance class with Sam.

To the right of Moe is my high school diploma. I always joke that I was in the half of the class that made the top half possible. I think if it wasn’t for band class, I probably would have done even worse. I was not the ideal student. That experience only helped me when we I finally went to college – I knew what NOT to do!

The two flags were something I got at Epcot one year. They represent my Italian and American heritage. There is more in my background on my mom’s side (English, Scottish, and German), but I tend to embrace the Italian more

The screwdriver on the shelf? I have no explanation for. I’m screwy, maybe? Yeah. That’s true in a lot of ways.

Front Porch Fixin’

I am not a handyman. I’m sure that I have mentioned this fact many times. So when my wife came to me and said she was worried about the front porch, we both knew who to call.

Our front porch has felt “soft” for some time. Sam (and I) were worried that our mail carrier would take a step on it and fall through! My father-in-law has helped us on numerous projects. Sam called him and he came over to assess the situation.

The one thing we were not clear on is whether or not there was anything below the deck boards. As we stood there wondering, it was decided that the fix it project would take place the following day. So, without thinking about it anymore, he grabbed a hammer and started to pull out the deck boards.

We were relieved to see that there was a cement porch under the boards. At least we knew our mail carrier was gonna be ok! The boards were literally falling apart as we pulled them.

My father-in-law took some measurements and began to do some figuring. He guessed that we’d need about 10-12 deck boards and we’d be able to get the job done in about 4-5 hours. So Monday night, Sam and I headed to Lowes and grabbed the boards, deck screws, and a few things for pumpkins for the kids.

Tuesday morning, we took the railings off, ripped up the old boards and began measure for the new ones. I’m always in awe of the little things my father-in-law does that I would never think of. For example, the first thing he did was measure and mark the center. I am sure I wouldn’t have done that. He knew exactly where the first boards were going to go and how we were going to attack the rest of the project.

As we were cutting and setting boards, my father-in-law said, “I’m not sure we got enough boards.” This freaked me out. He is always right on with measurements. He reminded me that we had measured thinking we were going to lay boards a certain way, but we opted to lay them a little different.

Thankfully, the main walkway area of the porch were all full length boards. For the outer parts, we were able to take the boards we had and stagger them a bit. Once we butted the pieces together, you really can’t even tell. Plus, Sam and I will eventually paint the porch and those seams will be even harder to see. So it all worked out and the only extra money we had to spend was on a few bolts for the railings which needed to be a tad longer.

If you look close at the outer boards, you can see where we butted boards together. I think it looks great! I was actually pretty impressed with just how much better it looks. It also was a fairly quick job once we started. Instead of 4-5 hours, we were finished in just under 3 hours.

If I didn’t have my father-in-law’s help, I am sure that the porch would be uneven, cracked, and a disaster that looked like I hired these guys:

Instead, it looks amazing! As I stood on it yesterday, I was impressed at just how study it felt. I’m sure the mail carrier will feel a lot safer, too!

Thanks, Dad!

A Plumber I Am Not

Friday night I was at work and I got a text from my wife. It went something like this:

Sam: So there’s a leak in the shower.

Me: It’s probably the shower head. That’s an easy fix. I’ll look at it when I get home.

Sam: It’s not the shower head, it is leaking by the faucet handle.

At this point, I did what any guy would do – I called an expert – my father-in-law.

I’m not stupid. I know that if I had tried to do this on my own it would have been something straight out of a Three Stooges movie!

In texting my father-in-law, we thought this might be a couple hour job. He joked that the longest it would take would be a couple days.

He came over, as he always does, with a bag of tools and gadgets anticipating what needed to be done. Once in the house, he assessed the situation. He knew that there was an access panel behind the faucet in our bedroom. So the first thing we had to do was look inside that panel.

The panel was held in place by a simple nail. When the room was painted, the panel was painted over and so was the nail. I grabbed a butter knife and began to pry at the panel. It opened and my father-in-law reached in looking for the shut off knobs. We couldn’t find them. In all seriousness, he says, “We’re gonna have to cut the wall.”

We grabbed one of those box cutter razor things (my description of this tool in itself should be enough to give you a picture of my handyman skills!), and I began to cut a hole about where he told me to cut. Once we pulled that piece of wall off, we reached in again. “Nope, we need to go higher.” So I cut again.

We finally can see the place where the valve is. The shower enclosure is right up against the pipes and a bear to get to. They are copper, so my father-in-law says that we are going to put in new pipe, and shut offs.

As I look at the above picture, I wonder just how any expected any repairs to ever get done with that access panel so low! All we could see when we opened it was the two pipes!

After a few trips back and forth to the hardware store to get what we needed, we basically got things back up and together. We certainly made quite a mess, though.

Once things were ready, he went downstairs to turn the water back on. I wondered why he didn’t send me down there, but then figured he probably wanted me to get drenched if things weren’t right. Ha ha! The water pressure returned to the house and the shut offs to the shower were off. We checked it and there were no leaks. Now we could work on the actual faucet and shower head.

Getting the faucet and the valve lined up with the pipes was a bit of a challenge. Any time I have ever had to trim a pipe to make something fit, I almost always cut it too short. (One time I was putting in a laundry tub in our basement and I cut the pipe so short, I wound up putting bricks under all four legs to level it off!) I was glad to let my father-in-law do it. He got them exactly were they needed to be.

It looked like it would be smooth sailing from here on out, but naturally, there was one more bump in the road. For some reason, we couldn’t figure out why the handle was so loose every time we put it together. The instructions were worthless. I was trying to put it together with this silly little allen screw. It was easier to get to it with the handle turned up. Every time I did that, it was loose.

Both of us must have looked at that instruction manual for 30 minutes apiece. I noticed that the picture had them tightening it with the handle down and from the bottom. I guess I was afraid to lose this tiny screw down the shower drain, so I kept trying it from the top. Once I attempted it from the bottom it snugged right up and we were done with it. It still doesn’t make sense, but that is what it took.

Thankfully, the shower head went on with no problem whatsoever! We turned the shut off valves on and turned on the shower. Ta da! No leaks and everything was working. And so ended another project I would never been able to do without the help of Sam’s dad. Thanks, for your help, Tony!!

For the record, I am a bit jealous that my father-in-law didn’t let me use the blowtorch.

Cast the Movie of Your Life

The Word Press App on my phone will offer a daily writing prompt to bloggers. I subscribe to a few “prompt” emails and such, and they can certainly be thought starters. Today’s prompt was one I had considered before and I may have even been asked a similar question by a Facebook friend. The prompt:

They are making a movie about your life. Cast it. (Keith adds – with any actors living or dead)

My thoughts on this are to jot down what comes to mind immediately for some (not all) of my family, and a few friends (other friends may request I suggest an actor/actress for them if they really want me to). I will then continue to ponder the question and see if, after thinking it over, I would change any of my choices.


Dom Deluise – No Brainer. This has always been my answer to this question!

My wife, Sam

This was tough. I tried to think of who might look like her and carry herself like Sam. Toss up between Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde.

My Dad

I’m not sure there would be any better than Jackie Gleason to play my dad

My Mom

Who in the world could play my mom? Tough question and still not really sure, but I forced myself to pick someone. At times, Cathy Bates’ facial expressions remind me of her, so for now – that’ my pick.

My Brother – Chris

Really difficult pick. So just because it will either make him laugh (and he needs that, because he is recovering from Covid) or it will make him mad… William Shatner (Because I wanted to post this stupid picture!)

My Grandma and Grandpa P

Estelle Getty on Golden Girls WAS my grandma! I always felt Abe Vigoda looked like my grandpa, so there ya go.

My Grandma and Grandpa D.

I have always felt like at times, Betty White reminded me of my grandma. My grandpa was tall, a bit heavy, and always smiling. John Goodman reminds me of him.

My best friend, Jeff

Another no brainer. I’ve said for years that he reminds me of Robin Williams.

My friend Steve K.

Steve always has some sort of crazy fact that seems unbelievable to tell. So, he would be John Ratzenberger – but John Ratzenberger AS Cliff Claven from Cheers.

My friend Joe K.

Joe is probably one of the smartest guys I know. At first, I couldn’t get Jeff Goldblum out of my head, and then I though Rainn Wilson is a bit more “Joe” to me.

My friend Steve M.

Steve and I wear our hair the same. My first choice was Vin Diesel, but then I though Michael Chiklis looked more like him (and he played Curly in a Three Stooges movie, so he wins).

My friend Margaret M.

She’s Italian. She’s fiesty. She is strong. She is an expert at inserting profanity into conversation. Without a doubt – Marisa Tomei.

My friend, Chris B,

Tall and funny = Conan O’Brien

Uh …… I’m Stumped

Now, as far as my kids …. I’m just not sure. My older boys (Dante’ and Dimitri) have personalities that are very established. Ella does in a sense as well. Andrew is just a smiling happy baby. How do I begin to pick who will play them? I just don’t know….

It’s my blog and my rules. Let me think a bit on this ….

If I left you out …. and you want me to think about who will play you – let me know. In the meantime ….

Go ahead and cast YOUR life. Who would play YOU?

Word of the Day – Kibitz

Normally, I don’t react to word prompts, however, today’s word is one that immediately made me laugh. I began following EM Kingston’s blog recently and her word of the day is “kibitz.”

The word is Yiddish and which can mean “make unwanted comments (as a spectator at a card game),” or something more general like “chitchat.” While it’s a word with a rich history, its origins are ultimately mysterious.

One who likes to kibitz is a kibitzer, which brings me to why I laugh at this word.

I’m a fan of the Three Stooges and they tend to use many Yiddish words in their shorts. Back when I worked on the radio on a regular basis, I used to watch movies, TV shows, and many Stooges shorts looking for lines I could pull out and use on my show. One of those lines came from a 1943 Curly Short entitled Three Little Twirps.

In the short, the boys are hanging posters. Larry’s brush ends up under Moe’s chin as he is not paying attention. When Moe says, “I beg your pardon” Larry sees him and spouts off the line, “Beat it grandpa, we got no time for kibitzers!” I’m not sure why, but this line cracks me up every single time! You can see the entire short below and the line I am talking about takes place about 1 minute into the video:

 What a great word! I highly encourage you to Kibitz today! Be a Kibitzer!

BuzzzzzzzKKKK! Whoops!

Britta, a blogger friend of mine, just blogged that her mom used to cut her hair as a kid. You can read her blog here:


She mentioned the dreaded “Bowl Cut.” When I think of that, my mind immediately goes to Moe from the Three Stooges. Really, he is the only one I think it looks good on! LOL

She went on to ask if anyone has ever had a “home haircut mishap.” Well, it just so happens that I have!

I remember my dad used to have a pair of electric hair clippers. I’m not sure that he always cut our hair, but there were certainly a few times that he did. One time in particular, I remember I was getting my hair cut and my brother was doing something to annoy me. I kept moving around in the chair and wouldn’t sit still. My dad was getting more and more angry every time I moved. He kept telling me to stop moving my head.

What happened next I don’t recall exactly, but I moved my head backward as my dad was getting ready to cut and the guard came off the clippers. I distinctly remember the clippers running right against my scalp. They mowed a HUGE path in the middle of my head! I am sure that my dad said some choice swear words and wondered just how he was going to fix it!

I remember crying when it happened and both my brother and I got yelled at. Rightfully so!

My cousin’s dad was a barber. If memory serves me correctly, he ended up coming over to my grandma’s house with his clippers and bag of barber equipment in hopes of making me look normal. The only choice he had, was to give me the haircut of another Stooge – Curly Howard!

I was the butt of many jokes when I went back to school. It took weeks for my hair to grow back! So I gained a life lesson – sit still while getting a haircut!

My Kids – Posers?

One of the things I love about Facebook is the ability to meet others who share the same interests as me. I belong to many different “fan” groups and have connected with some very cool people through those groups.

Some time ago, I saw a painting of Moe Howard that I thought was very well done. I’m not sure exactly where I had seen it, though it may have been in Moe’s book. At any rate, through one of the Three Stooges groups, I found that the artist was a member. Her name is Belita William and she painted the amazing portrait when she was in her teens!

Moe, Belita, and her painting.

She and Moe became friends and they were in contact with each other until he passed away. Moe liked her work so much, he had her paint him a portrait of President Kennedy.

Moe, JFK, and Belita

I was surprised to find out that she had also painted a portrait for Larry Fine, as well. This is another picture I had seen somewhere prior to learning she painted it.

Larry and his painting

Belita is very talented and I am in awe of her talent. She has painted portraits of her children, church members, and many others. Here are just a few examples of her fantastic work.

To make a long story short, Belita and I became Facebook friends shortly after connecting through the Stooges group. She has often commented on photos of Ella, Andrew, and my kids. I was truly surprised when she reached out to me privately recently.

“Hi Keith. Your kids are gorgeous. Maybe you might consider portraits.”

I won’t lie, it is certainly something I would love to do. She talked about pricing and such and it is something that I definitely want to save up to do. It may take a while (thank you highest inflation rate since 1981!), but I really think this would be an amazing and one of a kind way to capture the kids. I am sure that she would do a wonderful job.

When Ella was first born, one of my co-workers said we should enter her in a “Cutest Baby Contest.” Others have said the same about Andrew. As a parent, you are biased. I mean, you KNOW how cute your kids are, right!? Sure they are “model” material! Sure they would be perfect for a portrait! Absolutely they could be in a magazine ad! You always think that, but when someone reaches out to you and actually asks to paint them (as Belita has done) or asks to use them in promotional material (like Andrew was by the place where he got his helmet), it makes you feel pretty darn good!

Thank heavens they got their good looks from their mommy! LOL