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Showing posts from 2010

A Real Find

I'm reading a great book that I ordered from Octavia Book Store

New Orleans ... What Can't Be Lost. 

Whether you are from New Orleans or just love the city ... you will absolutely love this book. There are 88 stories (same number as keys on a piano). It's a beautifully written love song by 88 authors about everything from "Yat language" (dawlin, chawmas, hawts) to "Sno-balls" (Not the kind you throw ... the kind you eat on a hot day). One of my favorite stories is Lost Names. Here's a synopsis:

New Orleans is a city with a distinctive past. Here are six past business names gone now and especially missed by the author (and by me as well). These were not lost after Katrina ... Regrettably, there was decline even before the storm.

1. KRAUSS. The last of the locally owned department stores, Krauss was not grandly decorated. Located on Canal and Basin Streets, it was THE place to find notions, drapes, fabrics and such. The name is gone b…


I'll admit that sometimes we, of the Jewish faith, don't have a true appreciation of the wonderful Christmas traditions handed down through the generations ... until we see the joy on the faces of all the little  children ...

Have a Wonderful Christmas.

More Conversations with Grampy (Sammy)

Today, Nikki, Alissa and I took Grampy to Bob Evans to get his favorite breakfast ... pancakes and bacon with HOT coffee. I say HOT because no matter how hot they bring it ... it's never hot enough. He has never ... I mean never ... accepted a cup of coffee without giving it back to get it hotter.

Here were some of todays gems:

"I went to Walmart last week on the (Menorah Manor) bus. I brought a coupon for Subway ... you know ... buy a 6 inch sandwich and get one free. Well ... I'll be damned ... I ordered a sandwich that didn't qualify for the deal."

"What did you do?"

"What do you think I did ... I had to buy two sandwiches. I took one back with me. I couldn't eat it all."

"I had a date the other day. Yeah ... she's got a car ... you know? Doesn't live there ... her husband was a resident who died a few months ago."

"So you asked her out?"

"Sure. She's got a car and she always brings me cabbage soup. Wh…

Oddball Scientific Research

I read this today. It's an excerpt from the British Medical Journal's Christmas issue ... Oddball Scientific Research for 2010:

So That's Why They're Redheads

Patients with red hair are believed to bleed more during surgery, feel pain more strongly, and develop more hernias, according to Jonathan D. Barry of Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Wales, and colleagues.

They conducted a Google-based literature search for well-conducted studies confirming these beliefs, largely coming up empty. What they did find was that "many anecdotes have been recounted about the clinical behavior of people with red hair."

But they did identify two systematic studies suggesting that redheads need more anesthesia during surgery.

"The clinical implications of red hair phenotype remain questionable," they concluded.

Ikea Pencils, the Surgeon's Friend

Anybody who has shopped at Ikea, the Swedish furniture and housewares megastore chain, is familiar with its three-inch penci…

Laundry Quandary

Here's where we were tonight.

I was transported back to college days as we loaded the first of our 6 machine loads of laundry at the corner Discount Coin Laundry.

Why, you might ask? ... well ...  REMODELING time at our house continues. The kids all come home next week and we are staying at a hotel. Meanwhile, the washer dryer is disconnected, we watch television in my office and we eat on TV trays. There's a huge hole in the backyard and a fine layer of dust each day when we come home.

But tonight ... tonight was the best.

We loaded the car with two big baskets of clothes, joined the two college students who were crouched over their laptops, the 4'10" haggard looking mother with three kids hanging onto her pant leg and the homeless man watching the Simpsons on the TV in the corner.

It brought back memories of days past.

The difference today is that the machines actually work and the coins don't stick in the slots.

So ... if anyone has a spare room (and a washing m…

Not-So-Bright House

I don't like cable companies.

Truth is I despise cable companies. Okay, now I feel better. They are truly equal opportunity offenders. I recently had the "pleasure" of canceling Direct TV and REconnecting with Bright House. I guess I hadn't learned my lesson. It went from bad to worse ... To worse again.

I'm sure they all share the same call center. Here's how the conversation went:

Phone rings ... Mechanical voice lady, "Thank you for calling Bright House. Please listen carefully and pick one of the following ... Press 1 if your call is for new service, press 2 if you're calling about a bill, press 3 if you need repairs, press 4 if you are Hispanic and want to get even more confused by listening to a translation that makes no sense at all, press 5 just for the hell of it ... Or just hold for an operator."

Stupidly, I held for an operator. I had to give the machine my account number and the next hour was filled with recorded messages about how w…

More of "What I really meant to say ..."

Here are some more phrases you always wondered about ... or maybe not. 

Bare Faced Lie:  It comes from the fact that a clean-shaven face could not conceal any lies, unlike a bearded man who could conceal things. Who knows? Honest Abe might have had a dark side.

Nitty-Gritty: This had its origins in the 18th Century slave traders' phrase for debris left at the bottom of a slave ship after a voyage. A visit to the hold was described as going to the nitty-gritty. The phrase was banned in the UK as one which would be offensive.

Butter Someone Up: No ... not what you do after consuming large amounts of alcohol and telling your mate "Hey ... here's an idea...". It actually comes from an ancient Indian custom of throwing butterballs at the statues of gods to seek favor. Why butterballs? I don't have a clue.

Give The Cold Shoulder: Actually giving someone the cold shoulder originated back in England when someone wanted to signal a guest that it was time for them to leav…

What I really meant to say ...

As I sat in the bathroom yesterday... I thought about all the sayings and expressions that we use every day and wondered where they came from. (Don't you LOVE that open?) Here are a few I looked up for your viewing enjoyment:

By the way ... if you want to share some of your favs be sure to leave your comments below.

Bad hair day: This phrase originated in the 1992 film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ... Buffy said to the one armed vampire, "You're obviously having a bad hair day."

Baker's dozen: In the 15th century, street vendors could directly buy 13 loaves of bread for the price of twelve from the bakers . By doing this, the baker regulated the middleman's profit or commission. Maybe we should float that idea to Congress.

Balls to the wall: Hah .... I betcha thought it had something to do with anatomy. Nope ... it's aviation lingo. The throttle handles are often topped with ball shaped grips. Pushing forward toward the wall of the cockpit is applying full throt…

Holiday Conversations with Sammy

Sammy called the other day ... Debbie was the unfortunate one to answer the phone.

"Debbie, I want to order something for one of my friends out of the Harry and David catalogue. I don't have a credit card so what do I do?"

"Okay Sam ... I've got a catalogue here and you've got yours there ... so ... let's go through it together. I'll order it for you. "

"Okay ... now how do I do this without a credit card."

"I'll take care of it and you can pay me back if you want ... but it'll still come from you."

"But if I don't have a credit card ..."

"Sam ... just look at the pictures and tell me what you want ."

An hour later ... Sam finally figured out what he wanted and what page it was on. It was painful, but Debbie is very patient. I would have just gone over there and had Sam point and by the time I came back home with an answer it would still been half the time it took to do it over the phone.

"Okay …

Fundraising Calls Gone Bad

My good friend David Gillig from San Diego has been a fundraiser for about 20 years (That's over a hundred in fundraising years). David and I were members of a great organization, Children's Circle of Care, which represents some of the leading children's hospitals in North America.

Each year, we would meet with other Chief Development Officers and share best practices from our respective hospitals. Who am I kidding ... it was just an excuse to drink and tell war stories. Fundraisers LOVE to tell war stories.  David actually created a name for it during our meetings "Fundraising Calls Gone Bad".

Here are a few of my personal favorites that are near and dear to my heart. (I'd tell you others from around the country ... but they threatened to kill me).

My predecessor at All Children's Hospital is a great guy and a legend among fundraisers. That means he can suck up and grovel with the best of them. Lloyd Horton was raised in North Carolina (which meant that w…

Boys Will Be Girls

This is a classic boy/girl role reversal video produced by some Harvard students. My daughter Alissa told me about it ... You will laugh out loud.


That's Life! (Part 2)