Sunday, March 12, 2017

Collaterally Speaking!


You know, I just have to say it.

The Academy Awards top movies that won this year were yawners. I should be more politically correct, I guess, but I just don't get it. There's the story about a gay black kid abused by his crack head mother who grows into a gay black man drug pusher and has (big surprise) lots of issues. He barely speaks throughout the whole film. Then there's a film about a sullen janitor who watches his children die in a fire and also barely speaks. And then there's a musical about a tortured piano player who barely speaks but sings and dances.

What's the deal?

Critics LOVED these films. REALLY?  Two of them were like bad reality TV and I felt no empathy for the characters at all and the third was like watching the movie that I really detested when it came out ... Moulin Rouge.

You know the one that critics hated this year?

It's called Collateral Beauty. I saw it at the movie theater and rented it tonight again.

How stupid and classless am I? I think it's one of the best films I ever saw.

Will Smith stars as an ad man who loses his only child to cancer and writes letters to the three abstract elements he blames for her demise: Love, Time and Death. Then he is visited by each in the form of actors hired by his employees.

The rest of the movie is brilliant ... well acted, beautifully written and you will cry your eyes out throughout the whole thing.

Just my opinion, but then again I'm old fashioned. I like movies that ... um ... entertain.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Adventures in Vegas-land

Birthday week!

A time for celebration, a little nostalgia, gambling, time away from the office ... or not, bedbugs ... wait I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'll start at the beginning.

Deb and I headed to Vegas for five days. It's the longest vacation we've ever taken there.

Boarded Southwest Monday afternoon for that 5 hour plus flight in those skinny little seats without any food service ... but  who's complaining. Certainly not me!

We were prepared though.

Before we boarded we bought a delicious turkey sandwich from a kiosk with water and chips. We couldn't wait to slap on the mayo and mustard as soon as the seat belt light was switched off.

Apparently the guy next to me liked our food as well.

He talked about it for most of the trip. Actually, he talked about a lot of stuff for most of the trip. He didn't really talk TO anyone on the trip. He just talked ... and giggled ... and cried ... and laughed ... and walked around the plane ... you get the picture.

Deb said I squirmed around too much on this flight. Just because I spilled a drink on her and elbowed her in the eye I think I got a bad rap.

All I know is that when we touched down I felt a huge sense of relief. The guy next to me celebrated by dropping his shorts when he stood up to grab his plastic bag from the overhead.

Outside the cab lines were empty! We have never seen it that way. Arriving on a Monday was the right thing to do. No crowds.

Caesars Palace was like a ghost town.

I took a picture out of our hotel window and I saw the ghost of Debbie Momberg walking through the building. By the way ... this was our second room. Our first room was situated in an older section of the "Palace" where we stared out at a wall. So we gave it a thumbs down on the Goldilocks scale (Toooo OLD).

Ghost Deb and I changed clothes and headed to the casino.

She immediately hit $500 on a Wild Party machine, pocketed the dough and said "I'm done. I can live on this for the next five days". And she did. I am amazed by this ... $500 wouldn't last a minute in my sick gambler fingers.

And it didn't

As I crawled from machine to machine and table to table. Debbie settled in to her nice warm bed.

Day 2 was March 1st ... my birthday.

I always overdo it the first night we get to Vegas. I stayed up all night until my eyes fell out and my fingers fell off. Bright and early Debbie sang or just said Happy Birthday ... I don't quite remember.

Eventually we went downstairs to the famous buffet ... the biggest and the baddest in Vegas ... and the most expensive. It was definitely wasted on us. I had a few shrimp and a slab of beef and Debbie had bagels and lox in preparation for Ash Wednesday (I guess).

Right after we ate, Debbie left for church to get fingerprinted on her forehead.

I gambled some more (duh).

That night we dined at Joe's Seafood (brother of Joe's Stone  Crab in Miami). It was GREAT! Deb had stone crab and I had the Dover sole prepared at the table ... to die for!

When we got back to the room I was pleasantly surprised by cupcakes delivered to the hotel compliments of my kids. It was a mix of flavors adorned on top with poker chips on  some and dice on the others. I was gonna take a picture but I ate them instead.

Day 3 we did a little sightseeing. Stopped in the Bellagio to smell the flowers.

Beautiful!

We heard there was a shuttle from the Bellagio to the Aria and then to Crystals ... expensive shops. Big surprise.

After only 3000 steps ... Deb sighted her favorite store immediately. She visited her purses for a few minutes and then we headed back.


We changed clothes and went to Harrah's to see ... Menopause the Musical that evening.

Front row tickets to a play about four women who meet at a department store and sing 60s and 70s songs about hot flashes and keeping their husbands in line.

I dutifully smiled appropriately (I think).

On Day 4 we were sure this was way too long to be in Vegas ... the winnings were no longer up and down ... they were just ... down.

So we decided to tour the city by monorail. But before we stepped outside Debbie spotted the tiniest problem on the bedspread ... could it be??? Is it a fly, an ant, a flea ??? No ... it looks like a BED BUG!

We took numerous pictures but couldn't get a close up that we could see anything that resembled much beyond a booger. Debbie swore that she was bitten the night before ... so ...

She made the call.

Some guy named Michael told her to pack our bags immediately.

"What?" I said to Deb. "Are they are kicking us out?"

"No ... they want us to change rooms immediately."

We had no choice ... the last day and the Goldilocks tale was finally coming down to the THIRD room and the third bed which had better be .... JUST RIGHT.

It was .... a few floors below in the same tower with the exact same decor ... it was our final resting spot. "Hmmmm" we thought "Will they give us a big basket of goodies for pointing out the potential bedbug problem? Will it be on the local news? Or will they ban us from Vegas for calling a false alarm on a booger sighting?"

That night we went out to our last dining spot: Gordon Ramsey's. I don't think it was really that good. Surprisingly, isn't he the one who tells other restaurateurs that their places suck?

Oh well ... after a couple of scotches I was feeling no pain. Debbie's very dirty martini had her speaking in tongues too.

Farewell Vegas ... CHEERS!






Friday, February 17, 2017

Live on Facebook!

Debbie pulled a good one tonight

She was "live" on Facebook. Have you ever been "live" on Facebook? Would you know how? No? Well she didn't either. I should have said she was accidentally "live".  Somehow she filmed herself in the bedroom when she was doing God knows what.

I noticed she got about 100 likes and a few comments. Which goes to show that people have no idea what they are watching or why. Her few minutes of fame consisted of a close up of the inside of her hand (I hope that's what it was). And a shot of her face looking up just past her chin. She must have been looking at Facebook before she hit the movie button ... only a guess, but who knows?

I would have copied the link but Debbie erased it too quickly.

What a shame. You would have loved the chin shot. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Orlando Ten

My feet are killing me, my back is sore, I just got into bed and I don't want to get up.

That is probably how every adult my age or older feels right about now after spending the last two days at Disney world, clocking in at 25,000 steps (more than 10 miles) and being WAY out of shape for this.

But you know what?

I had the easy job. My daughter and her husband hauled around a three year old and a one year old who are both adorable and are both at 130% of their growth charts (meaning they are BIG).
So here's the story ... We have been here for the last two days. It was a family trip that included 10 of us all together. My three kids and their spouses along with the two grand kids.

Nikki, the oldest made tee shirts for all of us.

Yesterday was Magic Kingdom day. We flew Dumbo, saw Winnie the Pooh, sang with the Country bears, swam with the Pirates ... you know ... did all the fun stuff.

The second day was spent at the Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). Toy Story, Tower of Terror, Star Wars and more fun stuff.

Here are pictures:

Alissa and Grace were sporting new shades.

Grace opens her shades and shares the Harry Potter look

There were Dumbo rides, (Dumbo was the guy in front taking pictures of the cute kids in the elephant.)

Coasters ... that was Space Mountain I think. I didn't go with them. I opted for the more manly Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Shoot'em ups ... I managed to injure lots of those little Minions or something.

Stomach wars

Small World

Cole listening intently to Papa's story about the Wide Mouth Frog.


Exhaustion! Nate started to fade early (playing opossum).

Cole wanted to be airlifted .... OFTEN

I was "that guy" at the Monsters INC Laugh Floor. That means they put a spotlight on one fool that was called out repeatedly throughout the show to make fun of.

That would be me.

More coasters. I think this was Splash Mountain. I missed that one too. I think I had to do Mickey's Red Carpet or something.

Bedtime!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sunshine Boys ... Sammy Is Smiling Up There

Watched the Sunshine Boys last night.

Oddly enough I think it was the news about Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher that had me missing my Dad who passed away last year. Walter Matthau is about as close to being with Sammy as you can get. Sammy IS Willie Clark ... half of the vaudeville pair of Lewis and Clark, with George Burns as his partner.

If you've never seen it ... put it on your to do list for 2017. Even though the movie was produced over 40 years ago, the writing and the delivery is as fresh and funny as it was back then. 

Clark's nephew Ben is also his manager. In one scene, he visits his uncle with an offer to appear with Lewis in an ABC special but Clark refuses to ever speak to him again.

Ben grabs his chest and says, "I get chest pains every Wednesday when I come to visit."

Willie says, "So visit me on Tuesday."   

In another scene, Willie (who has a constant battle with his nurse) asks her, "How old is a woman like you?"

"I'm 54," she says.

"You married?"

"My husband passed a few years ago."

Willie pauses. "So ... You were his nurse?"

Everything about this movie reminds me of Sammy. The only difference is that Sammy was real (so were MY chest pains on Wednesdays).

####################

I'll get serious here for a minute.

This is a message to all of the children who still have their parents. Sure they can be a pain in the ass, yes they are embarrassing in public and I'm sure they often say things that hurt your feelings.

Forgive them.

They forgave you just about every day when you were growing up. If you were lucky they were always there when you flushed your mom's ring down the toilet, when you threw up all over them after you had your first beer, or when you called them horrible names when they put you on restriction.

I read where Carrie Fisher was so angry with Debbie Reynolds that she didn't see her for ten years. Must have broken her heart.

Call your parents and visit them from time to time. Nothing is forever.


My Little Baby Is Having a Little Baby!!


How can it be?

Alissa was just a baby a few years ago and now she is expecting a baby of her own. Can't believe that the little girl who ran around the house in a genie outfit with little plastic slippers is now 33 years old and is four moths pregnant. Crazy.

And on Christmas day we all experienced the latest pregnancy fad: A Gender Reveal Party. For those of you who are like me (unaware of the latest fads) Gender Reveal is where the family and friends gather together to find out what sex the baby is ... as well as mom and dad.

In our case, we gathered at Alissa and Nate's while her friends dressed their little dog, Riley in the appropriate color and tied balloons around his waist as we waited outside for the big show.

Note: A few months ago, Riley had his own "reveal" when Nate sent his DNA out to be analyzed. It came back positive that he was ... a dog.

When we were all set, Riley ran out of the door adorned in baby blue.

It's a boy!

Congrats to my beautiful little girl and her great husband! They will be spectacular parents. I have no doubt!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Checking It Twice!

I really hate shopping.

Surely, many of you feel the same, especially this time of year. I really shouldn't complain. Debbie does the mega shopping for the family. I can't say she enjoys it but she's really good at it ... she's focused, organized and she approaches it like a military operation. She does it old school with written lists, multiple stores, wrapping everything herself. There are no Amazon drones flying over our house.

Today, I finished up "my list".

Yes ... I have a list too. Don't be too impressed. I didn't create it. Debbie gives me the list. It's all the things that she wants. Kinda like telling Santa ... on steroids. The list has gift size, color, where to get it, even what floor its on and a hand drawn map of the inside of the store (kidding, if its available I use the actual printed floor plans). Oh and she usually includes the factory number too.

Our very first conversation about this years ago went something like this:

Me "Honey, I can buy these things any time of the year if you already know they are coming."

Deb "I want them under the tree on Christmas."

Me "But you already know what they are."

Deb "So?"

Me "So tell me why I'm wrapping them and surprising you with them on Christmas."

Deb "I like to unwrap them."

Me "And you imagine that you don't know what they are?"

Deb "No silly! I know what they are. Just do it. Here's my list ... Now give me your list."

Me "I don't have one."

Deb "Why not??"

Me "Because I just buy what I want ... usually."

Deb "HOW COULD YOU? CHRISTMAS SPOILER."

I learned my lesson.

Today ... as I dodged shoppers and baby strollers (which I have decided are used by moms as assault weapons) and loaded up my car with goodies, I thought about Christmas morning. The kids and the babies opening their gifts and Debbie right next to them opening her gifts looking every bit as surprised.

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

When the Jews Come Out For Christmas

Love this time of year.

Last week we had our annual holiday staff party at World of Beer. The theme was holiday hat decoration. Christine in our office actually did all the artistic work for our hats. Mine was a crowd favorite ... Star of David with silver trimmings. Many people thought I was a Dallas Cowboy fan.

Growing up in New Orleans to Jewish parents (well a Jew and a half) ... Christmas did not visit our house. Hanukkah was the holiday of choice. Eight crazy days of presents.

Not sure presents would be accurate. Gifts? tchatchkis? um ... cheap stuff? One year I got a dreidel (a top with Hebrew letters on it.)

Dreidels are the first step to a lifetime commitment of gambling. Spin the top for cash ... well, loose change. Children take turns and follow the direction that the letter gives you.

Each letter tells you what to do. Take half the pot, take all the pot, match the pot, share the pot, etc.

Sometimes you use gelt.

That's Hanukkah chocolate money. We used to get gelt as a gift for one of the eight crazy nights.

The other nights I remember getting stuff like model airplane kits and Lincoln logs.

One year I remember well. It was the last night of Hanukkah and my dad must have forgotten a gift for my brother and me. We lit the candles and Sammy disappeared into the basement.

He came back beaming with our gift. It was a rope. Not a jump rope ... nope ...

Just a rope.

Happy Holidays!