A Great Friend Don Nelson

 

To all the Ships at Sea-

  • 2017 has not been the greatest year for many of my friends. It’s been a great year for me but not so good for them!  My dear friend Don Nelson, one of the most powerful, beautiful human beings, with a awesome sense of humor has gone to the great darkroom in the sky, making a short detour  to Grandfather mountain where he helped thousands of photographers over the years.  He’s joined his beautiful wife Christine , and they are now traveling together into infinity.  A quick story about Don, back in the 80’s it was not uncommon for him to pop in and out of the White House.  One day he popped in giving the press secretary Larry Speakes an acorn asking him to give it to the old man.  Larry said, it just an acorn.  Don told him to crack it on the desktop (in those days desktops were made out of oak not glass.)  He cracked it and out popped a condom.  He laughed and said the old man is on his way to Andrew’s and inquired how many more he had.  Don gave him maybe 6 or 7.  Don headed back to Virginia  & maybe thirty minutes later he got a phone call from Air force One. In those days car phones looked like house phones.  A woman asked if he’d accept a call from the President of the United States. Of course Don said yes. Ronald Reagon got on the line laughing so hard and asked Don if he could get him a couple dozen so he could send them out to his friends?  Don I loved you then and I love you now.  I will come visit you at Grandfather Mountain.  Live, Love, Laugh and Be Happy.  Life is great!

Don & President Reagan in Limo

Doreen Jacob

To All The Ships At Sea –

Anybody who knows me knows I’ve used the expression “I am one of the luckiest people in the world.”  One reason for that is I’ve met so many great people over the years.  My friend Simon Jacob is one of the most important.  Simon has taken us into his family. Simon and all the Jacob family was extremely blessed to have Doreen Jacob as the Matriarch of their tribe.  She’s was beautiful on the outside as well as so beautiful on in the inside.  Doreen was a very warm, caring strong, and spiritual woman that lit up the room when she entered it.

We will always hold beautiful thoughts of her in our hearts.  When she opened up the doors to her home to us,  she helped us to understand more about the true meaning of family and friendship.  I know Doreen’s soul will live within all of us.  She has just moved to a higher place and one day we hope to meet her again.  We thank her for her lessons.  Both JoAnne and I were truly blessed to know her in this life.

© JoAnne Kalish

Hugh Brodie’s Birthday Party

To all the Ships at Sea,

© Joe DiMaggio

I’m the luckiest guy in the world.  I have great friends all over the world from all walks of life! One of my older friends is Hugh Brodie who is a great musician, singer, writer, and plays one helluva Sax.  The hell with rock and roll.  The women all love him!

Brodie was dealt a bad hand.  His last visit to the hospital the Dr. gave him less than 6 months.  That was 18 months ago. The last time we visited Brodie he didn’t look good. Much to my surprise, for his Birthday celebration he not only looked great but sounded great. It may not have been Carnegie Hall but it was fabulous to have been there.

Brother Brodie we will always love you!  Here’s a short clip from the day https://vimeo.com/204043097

 

 

 

© JoAnne Kalish

Hugh Brodie © Joe DiMaggio

There’s No Crying in Baseball

To All the Ships At Sea

Every once in a while I think I can write.  At least my English professor the first year in college thought I could. I’m pretty sure it’s the only A I’ve gotten (well maybe also in history.)  Then along comes Mark Joseph, one hell of a great writer says the New York Times for sure.  He was on the best seller list.  The man loves baseball!   I’d like to share this piece he sent me the other day.

 

author-mark-joseph-sept_17_2016_043Beisbol

Adiós Pelota
Baseball withdrawal has been easier than ever this year. After the worst World Series in living memory, I’m scratching my head and wondering how the postseason fizzled. Every single one of my predictions was wrong, which is nothing new, but who could have predicted five errors by Detroit pitchers in five games to hand the series to the worst team ever to win the big banana. The poor TV ratings reflected the low quality of play in damn near freezing weather, and all I can say in favor of St. Louis is that they still have the best uniforms in the National League when they wear red hats and home whites. Why the Cards sometimes wear blue hats is beyond me. I’d like to see the Cards play the Nippon Ham Fighters who won the Japanese World Series. The Yankees and Mets, who could have staged a terrific subway series, both went bust because of injuries and lack of pitching, and the Twins finally ran out of gas. The result: zilch, double zilch and a bullshit pine tar controversy. Egad, what’s a fan to do? Winter ball. Mexico

On Saturday night, October 21, I saw the Venados – the Bucks – of Mazatlán play at home against Los Yaquis of Ciudad Obregón. In a beautiful little stadium jammed to overflowing with 14,000 fans, Mazatlán won 2-1 in a tight, errorless ball game that featured three outrageous calls by the umpires that favored the home team. My friend Larry Banner who lives in Mazatlán bought field level seats ($9) that put us next to the home dugout and behind a chain-link fence within spitting distance of first base. A Yaqui runner beat the throw by a step and the ump called him out. Another Yaqui runner was picked off and was clearly safe, but the ump called him out. And when a Mazatlán runner dashed home on a hit to the outfield, the beautiful throw from right field had him nailed but he was called safe. The visiting manager didn’t make a peep, leaving me to believe that everybody understood that when Mazatlán visits Obregón the calls would favor the home team there.

Mazatlán is an extraordinarily polite city, and the fans were enthusiastic but not rowdy. Noisy, yes, insane, no, considering that before the game guys in yellow vests put buckets of ice and beer every few steps up the aisles in the stands. The Pacifico Brewery, which seems to own Mazatlán, owns the team, and perhaps the league, and you could get a beer by waving your hand, but you had to go to the concessions for a Coke. The baseball was AA at best, maybe good college ball, and no one on the field stood out as a major league talent. Each team in the Mexican Pacific Coast League is allowed 5 foreign players, although the Bucks have 6 (5 gringos and 1 Dominican) and if you wonder why a 32 year old American is playing for Mazatlán, maybe you should watch the film Major League again. The fans didn’t care. The uniforms said Mazatlán – and Pacifico and Señor Frogs and Coca-Cola and Bancomer and Mega, so much advertising they looked like soccer uniforms – but the best part was the end of the game when 2000 kids ran onto the field. The players hung around and signed autographs for 30 minutes until the lights went out to get everyone off the field. This was pure bush-league baseball in a bush-league town, a little time capsule with no million-dollar contracts, no hissy fits, no posturing, and no bullshit except for the umpires, at least on this night, when time stopped and it was 1953 again.

Mark Joseph is an American novelist. He is the author of To Kill the Potemkin, originally published in 1986. As a paperback, it spent four weeks on The New York Times bestseller list in July and August 1987.

He later published the novels Mexico 21 (1990), Typhoon (1991), Deadline Y2K (1999), and The Wild Card (2011).

Born in 1946 in Vallejo, California, he is a 1967 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael

Mike Phililps forblog copy

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

“Oh no, here he goes again repeating himself.” Guys, I really try not to do that, it just seems to work out. This world is moving at light speed. One of my closest friends, Mike Philips,unfortunately passed away 10 years ago and I never saw this obituary (found below) on Mike. JoAnne found it on the web and sent it to me. Michael was an unbelievably great photographer. He had one of the most amazing studios on Cedar Alley – it had to be 12,00 square feet. I had a small room by the elevator (it was designed to bring up a car), down the block from Tommy’s. I really loved that S.O.B. Above my desk are two photos of Michael. He knows why they are there, and I know why they are there, but I’m not telling. Attached is a couple of photos; the last photo is one that I think Michael would have really loved. By the way, I never title photos but this one is titled Mike 47.

Mike Phillips & Maggie 050 copy mike phil 1

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

“Mike Phillips

January 13, 2006 in Photographers Remembered

A key technical advisor for Nikon Professional Services, died at his San Francisco home on January 9, 2006 . He was 60 years old. His body was found by a NPS worker at his home after failing to appear at the booth for Nikon at the annual Apple MacWorld Conference. It was reported that he had some health issues for the past several years.

He spent his entire professional career with Nikon, starting with the company in 1970. In addition to acting as liaison between Nikon and professional photographers, he was often asked by Nikon to shoot major events such as the Olympics, World Series, Super Bowls, Kentucky Derbies, Cape Canaveral launches and many more. He helped hundreds of photographers in both camera and lens equipment loaners and technical assistance. He also had a vast knowledge of every generation of Nikon cameras as well as digital photography information.

Mike was a long-time major supporter of the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association. He was instrumental in getting Nikon to donate a Nikon camera as the award for the Greg Robinson Memorial Student Photographer of the Year Award since its inception. He also was responsible for the donation of thousands of dollars of Nikon ware for door prizes at various SFBAPPA events as well as sponsoring numerous luncheons. Mike was also a speaker at every annual SFBAPPA Digital Workshop.

A native of San Francisco, he attended college at U.C. Davis and San Jose State University. He is survived by his mother, Marie Phillips Japs of Davis; his sister Suzanne Finigan of San Francisco; his brother Kirk Phillips and nephew Collin, both of Northern California.

There will be no formal service planned at this time. A wake is pending. At his request, any memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.

San Francisco Chronicle contributed to this story.” 

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

Jazzman Hugh Brodie

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© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

There are many people out there that have been to our photographic retreat and jazz workshops, and you all know the words and music of world class jazzman Hugh Brodie. Brodie’s cousin was Ella Fitzgerald – I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree. Now I’m going to tell you a secret, and you’ve gotta promise me you’re not going to tell a lot of people, but I’ve been to three of Brodie’s eightieth birthday parties. My guess is that Brodie is 90-something. God and nature haven’t been really good to Brodie. He recently had a couple of falls,  had some serious back problems, and had heart surgery. Thank God he didn’t get acne! With all that, he’s still one hell of a beautiful human being. To celebrate his recent birthday, some of the greatest jazzmen on the East coast came together to play for Brodie. What they actually did, in my humble opinion, was make him one of the happiest people on the planet. He laughed, he cried, he smiled.  He was truly ecstatic. For one moment, I was thoroughly convinced he was going to jump up onto the band stand and start belting out some really great music. It was close but it didn’t happen; there’s no doubt that he was singing and playing inside that beautiful heart and soul. Time for me to put down the No. 2 pencil and let the photos speak for themselves. Harvey, thanks  an awful lot

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© Joe DiMaggio

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© Joe DiMaggio

_DSC0931 copyB&W 22

© Joe DiMaggio

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© Joe DiMaggio

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© Joe DiMaggio

Pat, We’ll Always Love You!

©JoeDiMaggio

©JoeDiMaggio

To All the Ships at Sea,

There was a great man by the name of Pat Napolitano.  Patty was one of my oldest and

dearest friends and a person that was very important in my life.  On many

occasions, I’ve mentioned that I’m the luckiest man in the world. I have a

great family, great friends, and a great life partner I call Sunshine.  Most

of these people have been with me, most of my life. They’ve supported me and

helped me to be a better person.

When God made Pat he literally threw away the mold.  He was one of the

strongest, bravest, and true friends God put on this earth.  At the ripe old

age of 15, five people tried to kill me. They had me on the ground kicking

me in the face and chest and delicate parts of my body.  A total stranger

came along and literally pulled them off, one at a time and saved my life.

The bottom line is, if he did not help me, I wouldn’t be around today.  It’s

been many, many years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. This was the

foundation for a very long friendship.

©JoeDiMaggio

Ralph and Pat ©Joe DiMaggioWe’d all gather at Pat’s home 10-15 of us and we’d work on our cars, have a

We’d all gather at Pat’s home 10-15 of us and we’d work on our cars, have a

party and play poker. It was a beautiful time. The Napolitano family had a

curse. They all seemed to have genetic heart disease.  Pat’s dad passed away

at 55 of a heart attack, then his mom, then his older brother Ralph.

You should not be surprised that Pat was the Captain of the Football Team as

well as Captain of the Wrestling Team.  In those days we played both offense

and defense. He was an amazing physical specimen and extremely intelligent.

Patty had an interesting way of motivating people especially someone like me

who was considerably weaker, smaller, and not nearly as brave.  One day

somebody for no particular reason, called me a “Diego Wop”, and called me

out for a street fight. One of our teachers broke it up. and as truth be

known, I did everything I could to avoid it, because I was frightened.  I

managed to avoid this gentleman and I use the term lightly, for two to three

days.  One night after a movie Pat brought me to the back alley of the movie

house in the parking lot.  He had arranged for this person to be there so

the fight could happen.  I still had my doubts and fears but Pat made it

simple. He grabbed my shoulder and pulled me nose to nose, looked into my

eyes and simply said you have a choice Joe D, you can fight him or me the

choice is yours. The fight lasted maybe 40 seconds, I beat him because Pat

taught me you may be afraid but failure is never an option. On the football

field and on the wrestling mat he was an animal but once he left he was a

mild mannered sweet person.  He had a slight birth defect which made him

deaf in one ear. He talked low, slow and cautiously.  They called us the

“Shy Ones”  Andy Boy Saccone, Richie Walsh, Lew Staudenbauer, Teddie Milito,

Jerry Riggerio, Ronnie Valerio, Frank Alagna, Pete Picciano, Bobby Wein, Ray Williamson, Al

Bukowski, Tommy Halinar, Bob Hoffman, Ralph Brandofino, Bob Piracci, and Joe

DiMaggio.  I hope I did not forget anyone of the guys.

©JoeDiMaggio

Pocono Raceway ©Joe DiMaggio

Something happened in March of this year, exactly what it was, I don’t know

but it was very serious. It was the beginning of my friend Pat’s highly

specialized dementia.  As soon as I found out how serious this was, I got

into my automobile and drove to see my friend at Stony Brook University

Hospital. I spent about 3 1/2 hours with him and helped feed him.  He did

not recognize me.  I prayed for a miracle and prayed that God would come

down from the heavens and save him and his life would go on and it would be

good and complete.  My friend Patty had a great wife and two great children.

Pat had another close friend who was the third Musketeer by the name of

Ralph.Commack Titans 1386

Ralph, flew in from Fort Lauderdale.  I picked him up and we went to the

hospital together and visited Pat for 4.5 hours.  It was obvious then that

things were not getting better.  Pat wasn’t shaved in weeks so we asked the

nurse for a shaving kit and she brought us an electric razor.  We shaved our

friend and took turns holding his hand. While I was holding Pat’s hand I

could feel the strength oozing out of his body.  It was a strange feeling.

I had a funny feeling he was not going to be with us much longer.

At the end of our visit with Pat,  I changed my prayer.  Before we left,

Ralph kissed him on the right of his forehead I kissed the left.  At the end

of my last visit I change my prayer that God will take him quickly so he

wouldn’t suffer anymore. God answered my prayer but it didn’t make me feel

happy. I don’t believe in the word closure. I loved him the day I met him, I

love him every day of all the years I’ve known him.  I will always love Pat.

At the wake which was one day and only four hours, there were at least 400

people possibly more that came to pay their respect.  They came from all

over the United States. In all the years I knew Pat, I never heard one bad

word. One of the things I almost forgot to mention was his great sense of

humor.  One day coming back from Manhattan, he asked me for a light for his

cigarette.  He was driving his 1957 Chevrolet and I was sitting shotgun.  I

passed him my zippo lighter.  He lit the cigarette and threw the lighter out

the window. About 30 minutes later he asked me for another light. I pressed

the cigarette lighter in the car, he lit the cigarette and threw that out

the window. At the time I did not think it was funny but looking back at it

I find it hysterical.

I could write a book on what a great friend and helluva person he

was. Pat I will always love you.  To All The Ships At Sea – I pray you have

a great friend like Pat Napolitano

 

©JoeDiMaggio

Pat, Joe, and Ralph

 


Napolitano Collage 6621larger

My Vacation

©JoeDiMaggio

©JoeDiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

Every once in a while, you get a huge surprise, I mean huge…  and you’re not ready for it, I mean you’re really not ready for it.

While on vacation at Sloan Kettering, two lovely guys came by on Halloween to say “Hello,”  so I would like to say thank you to Dan Horton and Larry Malang.  They came by to see my one man show entitled Latex Love Art.  While I’m at it, I should thanks to JoAnne, Dylan, and David Kenney.  Thanks to everybody

©JoAnneKalish

©JoAnneKalish

Motivation?

© Joe DiMaggio

Musician Doug Stegmeyer © Joe DiMaggio

What motivates you?  What motivates me?  In the case of this particular blog, what motivates me is a simple phone call from an old friend.  It was a phone call and the timing on it was perfect. Al Stegmeyer called and wanted to know why he had not seen a new blog from me since July or August. There is a very good reason for it.  I explained to him why I had not been blogging.  To all my ships at sea, I will tell you why in about 60 days.  Al was kind enough to invite me to a dinner celebrating his brother being inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. That great musician was Doug Stegmeyer.  His mother Peggy Stegmeyer, a world class piano player and music teacher will be celebrating her 90th birthday.  For anyone who does not know know who Doug was, he was the bass guitarist for Billy Joel. Nothing would make me happier than to spending an evening with Peggy, Al, and family, in celebration of a good friend and one hell of a musician, but I will unfortunately not be able to attend.  So to all the Stegmeyers out there I wish you health, happiness, and a beautiful rainbow.  I will be there in spirit.

An Additional Note – A NASA scientists once explained to me that every note in music travels into space and remains there for infinity.  So Doug your music is still heard all over the universe

small rainbow

© Joe DiMaggio

Hannah Or-ly

 

 

© DiMaggio/Kalish

© DiMaggio/Kalish

To All The Ships At Sea

Yes it’s been a long time since I’ve done a blog. I’ve been on location, shooting, editing and working on a new documentary.

The most important thing in my life these days is time.  I’d like to take a little bit of time out and tell a story about two beautiful people.  My brother Amir and his beautiful wife Hannah.  They live in a beautiful home on the West Bank in Israel and have an amazing family. It’s a home filled with love, understanding, compassion and true caring.  This is a family that doesn’t see hate or prejudice. They’re always looking at the beautiful Sun in the desert they call Israel.  It’s a special time as Passover is right around the corner.  In a world that is moving at light speed (yes I used it again,) we all need to take a breath and really enjoy the sunrises, sunsets, smell the flowers.  A hug, a kiss are both wonderful things that are free. So Hannah I wish you a great journey.  I’ve included a few photos from our Book A Land of Milk & Honey.

Sunset West Bank © DiMaggio

Sunset West Bank © DiMaggio

JoAnne Kalish with Hannah Or-ly Dead Sea 2009 © Joe DiMaggio

JoAnne Kalish with Hannah Or-ly Dead Sea 2009 © Joe DiMaggio

© DiMaggio/Kalish

© DiMaggio/Kalish

 

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio