Friday, August 26, 2016

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Today we started out bright and early looking for another meal. No ... The beer comes later.  

Actually we wound up an Panera. I know ... We come all the way to Boston for a bagel at Panera. But hey ... it was a quick stop ... and plus I had to find a bathroom. 

Ready for a little TMI? Our toilet in the room is about the size of teacup. A full size man (like yours truly) can't even  ... Well let's just say that I'm not sure how a person who is 4'10" fits on it.  

So I was happy to see the Men's Room sign at Panera. I hurriedly grabbed the handle and noticed the sign "Enter the four digit code from your receipt". Darn, I threw away my receipt. How was I to know that this clever foil to keep away street people from relieving themselves would now inhibit my ...

"Ain't got your code?" One of the Panera housekeepers asked. 

"I'm ... I must have thrown it ..."


"Thank you so much. I really ..." He was gone. 

Deb and I hit the trail looking for our next adventure. So much stuff to see in 90 degree heat with a 60% chance of rain. 

"Hey! How about a bus tour?" I said to Debbie. She stopped dead in her tracks. It took her a minute or so to regain consciousness. 

"Wait. Are you My husband? Are you asking to take a tour? You hate tours!"

"I know. But it's hot as hell and the sky is turning black."

Trolley tour it was ... Not quite Gilligan's three hour tour. More like an hour and a half. Met a nice couple from Cincinnati (the guy became my best friend because he was three years younger than me and thought I was three years younger than him). 

We saw lots of graveyards. Not sure how many we saw but there are hundreds of them in this city. 

I noticed that Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, and most of the presidents were buried in each one. Ben Franklin slept around a lot so possibly his body parts were scattered. 

Saw the Meeting Hall where the Declaration of Independence was announced to the crowd from the balcony. 

The driver said they just repolished and replated the gold and silver ornaments of the building and placed a round brick paver below the balcony to mark where the Boston Massacre happened. (During the reading of the Declaration? I got confused on this point). 

Lots of churches here. Catholic, Protestant, Episcipal ... You name it and there's a church for it. 

The driver said every time one was built, people left and moved on. Not sure why but perhaps they kept moving so they didn't get too chummy with the neighbors. The other thing that seemed commonplace was hangings for important stuff like gossiping or taking a sheep to the school dance.

Fenway Park was on the tour. It is the oldest baseball stadium in the US and has quite a history. Been around for over 100 years. 

We saw a couple of college kids trying to get a mattress up some stairs. 

Finally came back to Quincy Market and had a drink at Cheers. See ... Came back around. Norm knew my name. And all was right in the world. 

Tonight we head to the North End and a cool Italian restaurant named Limoncello. 

More tomorrow!

Boston Continued

Landed at 3 in the afternoon.

After checking in to the Parker House we headed over to Quincy Market. Had a cup of clam Chowda and a beyah. 


Had to get a picture from Dick's Last Resort the place where insults are served with lunch. 

That was our whole day! We went back to the room and woke up at 11 PM.

 I'm having M&Ms before I sleep again. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Boston Bound ... Thoughts of Doc Hollywood

Off to Boston today.

I'll keep you posted on the next few days. Jet Blue is the best by the way ... Free wifi, movies, no waits, lots of room. 

 Good start!

I was looking through the movies on the plane and up came Doc Hollywood. Remember that one? Michael J. Fox is the doc whose car breaks down in a little southern town and winds up falling in  love, giving up his practice in Hollywood ... Etc. 

Well ... The guy who wrote the original book based on his life (that became the screenplay) Is a doctor named Neil Schulman. He's a professor at Emory University, a comedian, author and the chairman of the Patch Adams Foundation. 

So happens I know Neil. 

Interestingly, he called me when I worked at All Children's Hospital about the music that Mike and I wrote for kids. He was working on a TV special and a new book and heard our stuff. He loved it. 

We corresponded back and forth for a while and he ultimately invited me to meet with his creative staff in Georgia. His office was actually his tiny house outside of Atlanta. I was surprised when I first saw it. Not what I expected from a famous Doctor/author. 

That was only my first surprise. 

Neil asked me to run the meeting. Now to put this in perspective, this meeting was all about his new project not my music. His creative staff sat on an old tattered couch. None were over 21. Two of them played video games during the meeting, one said nothing at all and the other was his live in girlfriend/aspiring actress/cook/scribe.  

Neil introduced me, gave me an overview of his book "what's in a doctors bag?" And asked me to share my ideas and work with the team for the structure of the book. 

I think there was a pregnant pause for about an uncomfortable 2 minutes until I sad ... "Neil ... Can I talk to you in the other room?" ( there was ONLY one other room in the house). 

We walked into the kitchen. "Neil, I'm confused. Are we going to talk bout my music today?"

"Absolutely ... It's part of the strategy for my book and tv show."

"How so?" 

"I don't know. I was hoping you and the team could work it in."

"I thought you and I were going to negotiate some arrangement."

"We can do that. "

"Okay ... So ..."


"Well I came up with a price structure for the use of the music as is and also a contractural arrangement for creating new tunes."

"Okay. "

"Want to see it?"

"Sure. But you probably should know that I have no money to pay you." 

I just stared at him waiting for the punch line. There was none. 

"Neil let me guess. Your creative team does this for free right?"

"Oh yes. Of course. " 

I'm not sure it was right then that I said my goodbyes or after creative guy number one screamed with delight when Mario hit level 435. 

You know ... I don't think I'll watch Doc Hollywood today. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Waste Makes Haste or (something like that)

What is it with tiny trash cans (sorry ... "Wastebaskets")?

I hate them. 

They serve no purpose. I have one in my closet that can only accommodate one wire hanger and a plastic dry cleaner bag. If the hanger sticks up too far it constantly tips over. 

So therefore I have to empty it every day (into a bigger trash can). 

Conversely my bathroom has an oversized wastebasket. 

My guess is ... it provides a home for the huge number of used Qtips, Kleenex and cotton balls that I go through in a week.

I could let that one fill up for a year and still have plenty of room. 

My office has a small round wastebasket that sits under my desk. 

It's really not for documents or any big items ... Mostly pens that run out of ink or the occasional sticky note or an employee that misbehaves. 

The challenge here is that I typically reach under the desk to throw stuff away and constantly miss the basket. I wish it was more squared off to fit against the sides. 

But then again ...this is just the small stuff. 

Why worry about wastebaskets when there are so many other far more important items to worry about? Like why there are 300 Pokemon Go players outside my office window ...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

NOLA (hot hot hot) Part deux

Rainy, muggy, can't breathe ... Still standing and still eating (and drinking!)

What a great night last night. Bob's buddies Alicia and Michael hosted us for the White Party on Julia Street. It's an annual street party that celebrates the arts ... More food and drink. 

We took this picture from their condo which overlooked the skyline downtown. What a cool place. 

Mike and Alicia and I played a little 'NOLA: what school'd you go to?' They confirmed for the group what I said earlier. You know you're from New Orleans if you talk about what high school you went to. Nobody talks about colleges. 

New Orleans is a great place. Still a wonderful "small town" with a big heart. We knew the same people even though we grew up in different neighborhoods and had different circles. 

What a great trip ... with great friends ... Flying out today. 

Laissez les bons temps rouler! 

(Let the good times roll for the non-Cajuns in the crowd)

NOLA in August (hot hot hot)

Flew to New Orleans on Thursday and haven't stopped since. Having a blast with the Longs and the Donaldsons. 

I'll sum up the trip (if the men told the story) so far:

Listening to music. 
Oh ... And eating 

(If the women told it):

Well we had the best time on Thursday when we landed because Debbie found the cutest slot machine at the Treasure Chest Casino on the way to the hotel (when Joel took the wrong turn out of the airport because he wasn't paying attention) and when we got to the hotel the valet was $45 (forget it we will park in the casino garage) and we ate at Grande Isle (to die for seafood) and then we gambled at Harrahs and lost soo much money. 

The next day we had coffee and donuts at Cafe du Monde in Riverwalk (not the one by Jackson Square ... too hot and the line is way too long) and walked down Royal Street to look at antiques and art (oh my god MSRau is like a museum but everything costs a million dollars). Debbie tried on a $785,000 ring (8.5 karats) and Bob looked at a mosaic for a $1,085,000 and then to Pat O'Briens for hurricanes and then to
ACME for oysters (raw, fried and baked oh my god to die for) and THEN we changed clothes and
headed to Frenchman St to watch Ellis Marsalis (Wynton's daddy and GREAT piano player)
and then Ruth's Chris for a late night dinner (we are so stuffed and need to do 20.000 steps in the morning). 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Will Miss You F***head

Sad news today about one of my closest  friends Dave McKay, WQYK longtime country radio personality, who died this morning unexpectedly. He was only 55.

Dave was irreverent, funny, constantly talking ... And truly a guy who cared about others. 

Ironically, the last time I saw him was just a few months ago at the funeral of another good friend, Terry Tomalin, also a great media personality who died too young. 

Lots of funny stories I could tell. But the one I always remember was one that he used to love to tell over and over. 

Dave's real name is Steve Ehmke. When I was at All Children's Hospital, he was a regular donor to our Telethon. I sent him many thank you letters over the years but one year he called me: "Hey ... How long have we been friends?"

"I dunno ... 10 years?" I said. 

"So what's with this letter you just sent me 'Dear Mr. Ehmke ... Thank you for your recent donation ...'"

"Did I misspell your real name?" 

"No ... But you could've said dear Steve or Dave or F***head or something more personal."

"I missed it ... Okay next time I'll just call you F***head."

"Yeah ... and you'll be F***head 2."

Actually, that became our respective names from that day on. Whenever we were out or when I called him or he called me we would address each other appropriately. Which leads me to my fav story ...

One day I left him a message at the station. "Hey F***head. Wanna get together tonight to play music?" 

(That message would make history later that morning when he was on the air.) 

Dave (on air) "So today, Garth Brools left me a voicemail about his upcoming concert. Let me play it for you, Randy (his on air partner at the time)." 

He reached over and pressed the button.

"Hey F*** HEAD ..." 

CLICK ... 

He quickly cut it off. "Um ... Randy you didn't hear anything did you?" 

Randy "Nope ... Not a thing."

The calls rolled in as he told listeners he mistakenly played a message from ME (thanks Dave). 

I think that was the first time that particular word was played on commercial radio. 

Of course times have changed.  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's a chiweenie!

You learn something new every day.

This morning, we met Alissa and Nate at Locale for lunch. Sitting on Nate's lap was their little dog, Riley who is always happy to see new people. 

"Guess what Nate did." Alissa said as we pulled up chairs. 


"He did a DNA test on Riley."

"Really," I said as I stifled a laugh. "Did it confirm that she was a dog?"

"Yes it did."

Alissa added, "You should have seen him Dad. He swabbed her mouth and everything. "

"So seriously Nate. Why did you want to do a DNA test? To find out who the father is?"

Nate laughed. "No ... But I did find out she is part chihuahua and part dachshund."

"She's a chiweenie!" Alissa said. 

That explains the accent!