In Memory of Stephen Gold

I turned 40 back on March 15 and have been reflecting a lot on my life. One of the treasure I have in life is a wonderful family and great friends. I wrote the piece below as part as the introduction to some writings I did in high school. Stephen Gold and I met in grade school .Even though we were the same age, the school held me back which was really the start of a very bumpy road for me. We separated for awhile and were reunited at Pascack Valley High School Stephen was born with MS. Doctors said he wouldn't see his fifth birthday, he lived triple that amount of time. He was one of the first, if not THE FIRST, children in Bergen County to break the bonds of special education. i don't know the background but even though he lived in River Vale, he went to Dorchester School  in Woodcliff Lake with Darren, another kid with CP, and myself. He graduated Pascack Valley in 1996 and was scheduled to attend Ramapo College that September. Stephen didn't make it, he succumbed  to his illness just days before attending his first class. I was devastated. \My first funeral was for a friend, my age, younger than me by two months. I remember the principal of PV gave a touching eulogy. I'll never forget her last words about Stephen, "Pause, grieve, remember him and live your life". Today would have been Stephen Gold's 40th birthday

Stephen--  I have had people tell me how insight I could be when I want to, Stephen was always like that... Folks say Steve reminded them of Yoda, the wise character in Star Was. He always had an idea about people's emotions, no matter if the were good or bad. Stephen was the most outgoing of all ofus. He did it all, student council and the debate team were his favorites. I always saw a book on his lap when he was travelling down the hallways at Pascack Valley [High School].  Students and teachers alike respected Stephen, he always had advice to give without sounding like he knew it all. Students and teachers alike respected Stephen.

Even though he and Tom had MS, Steve had other problems. Doctors said he'd never see his tenth birthday. He was very thin, even thinner than I am, barely weighing sixty pounds at age eighteen. It got to the point where he couldn't lift his head if he accidentally bent it down. It was serious whenever he got sick because his immune system had so many deficiencies. Most critical was his breathing. Steve was rushed to the hospital so many times I couldn't even begin to count. I'll never forget the one time the ambulance pulled up to the school. As soon as it came, I knew it was for Stephen. Folks who really knew Steve knew it was just a precaution,  but it scared me

When I wrote the Journal, I always forgot to mention Stephen, but his wisdom somehow found its way in there. With Steve's guidance, I was able to come up with some of my best work.. It was riding on that bus I thought of Sydel's graduation letter, because Steve was the first person to really realize how I felt./


It needs to be said

Like clockwork as soon as the news of the Texas killing happened, folks on both sides of the  gun control debate went to their respective battle stations. Both took their predictable tones and finger pointing while America collectively demanded once again our elected officials "do something". I am in that camp too, but I am not hopeful it will be done because nobody actually wants the cycle to break, that's how they'll get reelected, on both sides. Nobody actually wants to fix the problem properly because neither side wants to feel they are taking rights away, gun rights or privacy rights. The clear backpacks the Parkland students oppose would work better than the strongest gun control laws because it would detect guns. It would also stop knives, bombs which the killer in this incident had and tried to detonate and any other devices or tools that could be used as a weapon. That alone would solve the problem better than any other gun laws on the books, but I don't want clear backpacks any more than I want stronger gun control measures.

It goes to say  a small - very small- part of me wanted the pipe bombs to go off, only killing the killer, nobody else. I realize this is wrong  and it's horrible to wish death on anyone, but it would have stopped a tragedy, it would have been worth it. The reality is if the pipe bomb did go off, it would have killed more people, causing more heart ache. It also would have been a powerful lesson to those gun control advocates, that it really isn't the gun at all. If the bombs went off before the shooting it would have shifted the conversation off the gun argument and onto the person who committed the crime. A man determined to kill as many people as possible no matter what the cost. This is where the focus needs to be, not just the guns. We heard the exact same thing after the Las Vegas massacre the killer had all kinds of explosives, not just guns  The sad part is this is the only way to prove that the people promoting safer schools are genuine.  They would have demanded his background be exposed, no more privacy rights for this killer.  The entire dynamic of the investigation would have changed and it would give us more insight into the killer's state of mind.  You hear time after time about the "red flags" well

 We keep asking "How do we stop these shooting?" When we should be asking "How do we stop these killings?" I have detailed my opinions on these issues before, but here it is again. Actually teach these kids the value of life, and the consequences of their actions. This is also where  "don't use y our fists to solve your problems" also comes into play. The bullying in schools has increased because of "forced social acceptance". The fact we need to "include everybody every time" has been programmed into child, they are brainwashed into  thinking any rejection is indeed the end of the world. We're teaching kids to be weaker, not stronger. They think extreme violence is the only way they can show their emotional pain. Ironically the weaker kids are, the more likely they will become violent because it's their only outlet they know. We are creating weaker kids because we're not teach them how to cope with rejection. We teach them always being accepting, but these absolutes come with a very steep price.

I think there's no single answer to these problems. I also think there's more in common to these shootings than the weapon used in the attacks. The real problem is everyone thinks they know the  cause, the puzzle is harder to solve. I believe the answer is out there but it will take many different perspectives to come up with many different solutions. People are right when they say "thoughts and prayers won't solve this problem." but neither will banning all the weapons in the world. The sooner people realize it, the safer our country will be.


JM gets iPhone

After year of getting teased about having what was incorrectly always referredto as a "flip-phone", I leaped into the 21st century and got an iPhone 6S. Yes it's a double whammy because I am well-known for my anti-Apple  views on a number of levels. Maybe I'll come around some day. The hardest thing to do was setting up all my account s where I needed to- enter passwords which are a lot easier to enter on a laptop than a cellphone. My neck is still hurting from bending down and typing on the tiny keyboard. Although people remarked that my older phone had a smaller keyboard. Still trying the justify the reasoning behind it. One of the most amusing new habits I have is asking people for their wifi passwords. Although I am not  bashful about [just handing them my phone and asking them to type it in for me

People say their phones are their computers, they do everything with them. From e-mail to eBay it seems they/'re not finding use for laptops or tablets, not me. I knew I could never say goodbye to a traditional laptop, I rely too  much on it. Downsizing to just a phone is not even a consideration at any point in time, especially with writing. Can you imagine me updating this blog or my website with just a smart phone? I didn't even put my main email on it  because I knew typing entire e-mails would be a disaster in the making. Although I have a Gmail accoubnt I+ will use for mobile e-mail and even labeled it "Mobile E-mail" on my website which is designed for short answers like a text. It will take some playing around, but I'll figure it out.

 This past weekend was the Cape May Jazz Festival so of course I snapped some pretty decent pictures. I tried with the regular camera and had better luck with the Iphone. With a little editing with Google Photos it's turning out to be a great new hobby!!

The camera phone is a definite plus. I had a camera on the cheaper phone but this camera is better. I have been shooting away, which puts me on par with most folks my age!!!  It;s still a work in progress and I don't think perfection!!

I have also downloaded the weather and radio apps whic I haven't fully explored yet because I am paranoid about data usage and paying for apps, yes I am THAT cheap!!!!!  Plus I+ rather see the numbers scrolling across the scanner screen more than anything else. Call me old fashioned but I actually think some online feeds are destroying the hobby!!!

As I use it more I find the phone has been a good thing!! I am no longer in the dark ages of technology!! You still won't catch me being a Mac computer though!!!!



For those who have read this blog, browsed m y website or have seen my posts on Facebook, it's pretty common knowledge I have Cerebral Palsy. I have had it since birth because a doctor messed up.  I was a breech baby and the doctor  let my mother's labor progress causing a prolapsed umbilical cord, when he should have performed an emergency C-Section. For the sake of time and not getting off topic I won't go into details, however it was a pretty clear cut case of medical malpractice. I found the details of my delivery almost two decades later and filed a lawsuit against the doctor. The lawsuit settled out of court and I thought that would be the end of it.......

After a few years after, there was a push t cap on what are called "non-economic" damages, that effect people who don't work, especially children and women. This was really a backdoor to lock people lock myself out of the justice system. Lawsuits like the one I filed against my doctor are extremely rare. I was one of the only people who sued the doctor nineteen years after the malpractice happened. Very few people have that option, primarily  because they don't have the mental capacity to understand the concept of a .lawsuit, let alone file one, I was "lucky" in that respect.

Of course the American Medical Association's #1 priority is to protect doctors, and doctors claim "frivolous lawsuits" drive up the cost of medicine. Doctors claim they run more tests than usual because they're afraid of getting sued, when the truth  is a lot of them get kickbacks from companies to run those tests. Doctors have also steadily increased the amount of drugs they prescribe, especially anti-depressant drugs, more on that in a second. The AMA spends millions of dollars lobbying Congress for ways to limit doctor liability. They have tried everything in the book to protect its members, even though some of them  ruin and yes end multiple lives on a daily basis. You're three times more likely to be killed by a doctor than a gun. So much for "First do no harm". It's more like, "First cover our asses." Now I'll be the first to admit, there are more good doctors than bad doctors. I've had wonderful doctors help me over the years. However  they can't circle the wagons fast enough when one of their own injures or kills a patient. I went up against. some of them, they are. a mean bunch when they're on the defense. You've heard of the "Blue Wall of Silences" in terms of police?  Well there's a "White Wall of Silence" among doctors. Only a very select few call their colleagues out when a mistake is made. They blame everything but the doctor's "did their best". "Suing won't ease their pain". "All these so-called victims want is a quick pay-day and of course the lawyers get their cut

Alright now that I got my feelings down I need to tie this into the school shootings and the recent activism by those high school students and their hatred for the NRA.  Like 'everyone else I feel awful to hear about another school shooting. It's usually a kid with real mental issues that either go untreated or the kids refuses to take his (all shooters have been male) medications properly. The doctor takes no responsibility when the medication has side effects . He usually bullied in school, been made an outcast by his peers and  tries to get help, but is told to "toughen up"., He escapes to the violence in video games or movies. Our poor fellow watches as "the good guys" kill the "bad guys" and live happily ever after. All of these thoughts and feelings are stirring inside him.  The taunts continue h;e decides the only way out of this misery is to destroy the problem.  There's no attempt to connect with this unstable person

The National Rifle Association's #1 priority is to  protect legal gun ownership and usage. It should be noted the NRA doesn't sell guns to its members nor provides them with the ammunition. They promote gun safety and provide courses on how to operate guns properly  Every time there's a shooting the shooter is immediately connected to the NRA, even though not one NRA member has committed a mass shooting.I AM defending the NRA because unlike their doctor counterparts, they condemn shootings. The NRA has been around a long time. Mass shootings have  been occurring for about twenty years.The only thing the AMA condemns is people they injured seeking justice. The AMA doesn't punish doctors when they injure or even kill a patient, they defend them!


Forty Years in Fifteen Days

I often say my life is full of ironies based on having Cerebral Palsy, for example I love antique cars, I can't get a driver's license. I love to write poetry but my handwriting is awful...... I

Day 1

It's a responsibility of mine to promote Cerebral Palsy Awareness during the Month of March. Those who know me know for years I ignored questions about having CP. I still cringe when people come up and say "Oh you have MS" or "Are you ret****" No I have Cerebral Palsy or I prefer "CP". BOTTOM LINE: My brain is going 100 MPH while my body goes about 5MPH. I will] turn 40 on March 15. For the next 14 days, I will post a fact about my life, and how CP has affected it. I WON'T POST anything else. I DON'T expect people to "Like" or "Share" what I have to say, BUT PLEASE READ IT. Consider it a 40th birthday present...........Day 1
Day 2

CP has been portrayed in movies, such as "My Left Foot" (1989) based on the life of poet Christ Brown (play by Daniel Day-Lewis), "Door-to-Door" (2002 based on the life of Watkins Company salesman Bill Porter (played by William H. Macy), Breaking Bad Walter,Jr. (played by RJ Mittes who has CP) and recently TV's Speechless, which the main character J.J. (played by Micah Fowler) really does a great job portraying a teen's life with CP because MICAH HAS CP HIMSELF. Ironically in the latest episode JJ turns 18 and gets a tattoo. NO TATTOOS IN MY FUTURE.......12 days
P.S. YES I originally said I wouldn't post anything else, I mean written or repost anything besides CP related material. However storm pictures are EXEMPTED from the rule

Day 3 Wasn't really a status update but I uploaded a graphic from the UCP website. Hey I wasn't sure if I could write fifteen separate status updates'!! So I cheated I used a meme!!! So sue me!

Day 4-CP has been portrayed in movies, such as "My Left Foot" (1989) based on the life of poet Christ Brown (play by Daniel Day-Lewis), "Door-to-Door" (2002 based on the life of Watkins Company salesman Bill Porter (played by William H. Macy), Breaking Bad Walter,Jr. (played by RJ Mittes who has CP) and recently TV's Speechless, which the main character J.J. (played by Micah Fowler) really does a great job portraying a teen's life with CP because MICAH HAS CP HIMSELF. Ironically in the latest episode JJ turns 18 and gets a tattoo. NO TATTOOS IN MY FUTURE.

Day 5-Alright I talk about my folks helping me a lot, but my grandma, Theresa Princiotto, was always there too. We'd go over there for dinner every Sunday She took me to therapy while my mom worked. During every one of my surgeries, the day I got out of the hospital she had me at her house so my folks could get some sleep. We had great times in Florida and Lake George. She had early on-set Alzheimer's Disease that started around 70, but she hung on for over ten years and passed away in 2008. Happy Birthday in Heaven Grandma I love you ....10 days!

Day 6- Was skipped because of the massive storm in Cape May

Day 7- Day seven means I should talk about a big one speech. Moving my mouth requires the greatest control and makes my body the tightest. It is by far the most frustrating aspect of living with CP,. So it makes perfect sense I love to talk! To make matters worse I have a great vocabulary. Despite this I have done some public speaking, I've spoken in front of Senators, Doctoral students, even little kids. I gave the best man speech at Chris Mattes's wedding.............. 

Day 8-First off Happy 30th Birthday to my cousin Charles Princiotto, born 9 years and 357 days after me.  I actually have three family members in this countdown, you should know the third will make an appearance in five days. Related to CP. well it's really two sides of the same coin. On the one hand they have helped me, sometimes more than they should. On the other hand I think I might have helped them in some ways too. Like all families together we've gotten through a lot. I'm lucky to have them!~

Day 9-  I decided when I was getting stuck I'd revert back to the basics. Here we go, EATING. I'm great with a folk, knife and spoon not so much. Makes it really interesting when I'm out to dinner without family. Ok I got to admit my first prom I nervously explained to a teacher I didn't want to have my date cut my food in front of the entire table. She asked the wait staff to do it in the kitchen. There are a few other tricks up my sleeve but you know I have 6 days left

Day 10- is dedicated to therapy, Physical, Occupational and Speech I went from the time I was six months old well into my 20's. Twice a week up to five times a week when I had surgeries. They kept me moving all these years. They also saw me through some challenging times with school. Fun fact they also helped raise my brothers, while I was getting "tortured" they played with them when they were babies. In fact in a way they helped raise ALL OF US. Seeing the same people every week for 20+ years doesn't make them friends.........it makes them family! Now I have a trainer Tyler Cotterell down here. My only regret is I wish I met him sooner

Day 11- Well I'm going to cheat! Last night was the PERFECT send off to my 30's, I was with my dad, Uncle Sal , brothers Chris Mattes & Pete and a combined crew of North and South Jersey friends. Definitely some amazing peopleI am lucky guy

Day 12- Alright I talked a lot about talking and\ walking, what about just standing? The first time I stood up completely unassisted, I was around five and it was October because I planted a pumpkin in our garden in our back yard. Every day my dad carried me out there and sat me down or leaned me up against the post to watch it grow. He loves gardening and it was HIS way to pass something HE loved onto his oldest son. That day he happened to have a camera. For what ever reason without thinking he just stood me up against a fence post and turned to get his camera, he was a professional.. I called him back, he turned around and I was no longer leaning on the fence I WAS STANDING. He snapped the picture scooped me up and ran back inside to tell my mother. She didn't believe him, the next day he developed the picture.

Day 13--HAPPY 35th BIRTHDAY to my youngest brother Peter (Petey) Yes I was turning 5 years old when my mother gave me a second brother. We had joint family parties and I always hated waiting two days to become older, now I don't mind. Petey has grown up= to be a smart caring and all around good guy. Wait I must still be asleep! We celebrated many memorable moments together. He also married Sue Mattes a wonderful caring woman who keeps him in line, well most of 
the time Love you brother!!!!

Day 14--Alright I wanted to cover writing, ah typing. I can write but every other body function goes down hill when I hold a pen. Actually I was five when I came home from preschool sobbing because I couldn't draw a sun. I knew how, I tried. Well That Christmas there was a big box for me under my grandparent's tree............an APPLE IIC COMPUTER, complete with drawing software/ That was a giant step forward for me

ALTERNATE VERSION OF LAST DAY Day 15.. I was born March 15,1978 in Ridgewood,NJ.. My dad, Peter, was born in Germany, mom, Mary born in Queens and both my brothers born in NYC. My mom actually went into labor on March 14th which, even though isn't uncommon I always thought was interesting. Now I know better to get into the details, but I wills say I have THREE LIVES. You see I was resuscitated TWICE and whisked off by ambulance to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital two days later. Admittedly birthdays for me are a double edge sword. On the one hand it's a reminder of what happened forty years ago. I often said it's llike a life sentence for a crime someone else committed. On the other I consider myself lucky to live this life for forty years. Do I get angry? You bet. Do I have self-pity? More than I ever admit. B