Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tax Diversion

I'm sitting here doing the very last thing I want to do every year ... my taxes.

I'm on my 27th Worksheet and headed for my 38th IRS Form ... only to be more depressed to see what MORE taxes I owe when I finish. Is it any wonder that I put everything aside and start working on my new blog entry?

Time travel (how's that for a transition?)

That's what I'm thinking about ... time travel. From Back to the Future (parts 1-52) to the Time Traveller (and the Time Traveller's Wife ... and whole family), the whole concept of travelling back and forward in time has fascinated me. Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to visit yourself when you were a baby or when you are an old man (or get a visit from yourself at any stage in your life?)

Here's the great part ... the earlier time travel movies would not let the two worlds meet ... in other words, if by chance you would meet yourself in another time the universe would virtually implode. Now ... apparently it's okay ... at least movie travellers meet each other all the time. They can even change history! Remember when they couldn't?

So here's the big question: where would you go if you could travel in time?

Here's what I'd do:

1. I'd start with my "Bad Day with Ira Middleberg". He's the kid who threw a pencil in my eye in Hebrew School. The adult "me" would take care of that a-hole. Ira ... if you read my blog ... BEWARE!

2. Then I'd probably zip through time (naked, of course, as the latest trend has been) and have a drink at the Raven in New Orleans ... our high school hang out. I'd visit Percy the bartender and then I would loudly proclaim what a cool dude Momberg was ... as my younger self and I shared a beer.

3. I'd do a college visit next. My first real "sweetheart" broke my heart when she started seeing a guy whose entire vocabulary centered around farting and parts of the female anatomy. So knowing this I, of course, would tell Miss Thing that I am Joel's future and her potential Bonehead loser boyfriend becomes a ... (ooops, maybe I better find out. He might have been the CEO of some incredible company like ... Lehman Brothers) ...

... oh crap, Debbie just got home. "How's it going with the taxes, honey?"
Me .." Oh ... getting there."

Where the hell's "Future Joel" when I need him???


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kindergarten Is Not For Sissies

I've decided that teaching school is the best training in life for any management job in the world ... especially teaching elementary school.

The more undisciplined the kids are ... the better the training.

I think back on my teaching days often, now that I manage adult children. Today, for example, I had to discipline one unruly "child", lectured another on appropriate behavior, reminded another how to play well with others ... and one was so bad that I was tempted to bring in her parents.

We never really grow up, do we? We act up ... we suck up ... we still throw up ...  but grow up? Naw. We'll never grow up ... you know ... Tinker Bell sure had LOTS of patience with Peter Pan.

What a day! I wanted to rush out to the bookstore to see if there were any copies of "All I really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten" ... the book by Robert Fulghum. It was brilliant ... and SO true.

Here are his guiding principles:

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. Clean up your own mess.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

POP Night

Last night was POP NIGHT.

Ever heard of it? If you know Colleen Wyse and Steve Klasko you have (or if you've ever gotten wasted in a variety of bars on certain Friday nights).

Pop night Klasko/Wyse style has a style all its own.

Let me back up and tell you that Steve is the Dean/CEO of USF Health ... has a ridiculous amount of energy ... and in fact probably should put A.D.D. after his M.D. He's also a frustrated musician (has a library of 30,000 songs I think) and actually worked for a while as a DJ. Colleen has been at the administrative and sales helm of major magazines like Glamour, Vogue and recently  ... Bon Appetit.

They are truly a dynamic duo.

Not surprisingly, Colleen with her sales/fundraising background and Steve with his love for music, came up with an idea to get people together and share music, food, lots of alcohol and also stuff they would NEVER ordinarily tell ... and have fun with it.

So ... last night, five couples enjoyed an INCREDIBLE meal served by our good friend, Chef Guy. As we dined ... songs that we preselected were blasting over Steve's Apple TV while a bowl of folded notes were passed around. The notes contained information that no one knew about us ... also sent in advance to Colleen. Taking turns, we read the notes aloud and tried to guess which one of us belonged to which note. Great stuff: Female helicopter engine mechanic, intern for Maury Povich, sky jumper who landed on a highway ...

And true to form ... Klasko ... being the hyper host he is ... sat for maybe 3 seconds at a time, spinning and hopping around the room ... creating chaos and mini-marital conflicts while Colleen tried to get everything on track with limited success.

For the record ... my note had a reference to playing in a band (Steve managed to find a picture of 4 Hassidic Jews representing my "musical combo"). Debbie's note was the best of all ... You see, when she was 18, she was an usher at The Bayfront Center, a venue for the Ringling Brothers Circus each year. One season, she met Tito Gaona ... a trapeze artist. She wanted to immediately join the circus after she saw his luxurious dressing room (because Tito was the star performer he had the best digs ... a 500 square foot train car).

Debbie told the story ... "So I almost ran away with Tito ... but thought better of it."
Colleen ... "What ever happened to Tito?"
Debbie ... "Oh ... I heard he was involved for a while with a former Miss America ... do you remember Lee Meriwether?"

A scream that would break your eardrums came out of Colleen.

Colleen ... "NO!!! STEVE ... DID YOU HEAR THAT?"
Klasko sprinted to the bedroom and ran out again gripping a Miss America magazine.
Klasko ... "Oh my God. Lee Meriwether. I was in love with Lee Meriwether. She is still so hot ... She was the Cat Woman in the old Batman series ... remember that? And then I actually MET her in Vegas at the Miss America thing this year ... and told her that I loved her and used to watch her every Friday night when I was in med school ... a loser ... no life ... I watched her in Time Tunnel ... anyone remember that? (no one answered). She was impressed because no one remembered that ... I was pretty much of a nerd ... and she signed the book ... see?"
Me ... "Steve ... how old is she now?"

Klasko ... "Um ... 75 ... I think ... but she is STILL HOT."


Colleen ... "Everyone ready for dessert?"

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm A Doctor!

Yesterday was THE day for medical school seniors across the country.

"Match Day" is the day the graduates find out where they will be doing their residencies. They spend months interviewing at different universities and hospitals around the country ... vying for coveted residency positions within their specialty areas. They then rank these in order of preference ... the schools they interviewed with do the same. The results come in and each "resident" is notified of the results at MATCH DAY in front of friends and family. Sometimes they get their first choice, sometimes their second and sometimes it's a fourth or fifth ... sometimes they don't get a match. 

For my daughter Nicole, her USF Match Day was held at Skipper's Smokehouse (a funky bar/restaurant/music venue that is frequented by the student population. It's a relaxed atmosphere for "already stressed out" group.

So ... yesterday ... 120 of Nicole's classmates gathered as each one went to the microphone, called out their names and specialties ... tore open the envelopes ... and announced their matches. Pretty heady stuff, huh? Fortunately, those that didn't match are told ahead of time so they don't have to stare at a blank envelope. There were only a handful of those ... and they were rebatched and all got positions in other specialties.

Nicole was fashionably late ... not by choice ... because of bad compass coordinates. There were a few names called out (at random) before she arrived. One young lady read her city and specialty and said hello to her husband in Dubai (our Match Day was being streamed via the web). Another "couple" read their joint placement in Alabama ... he was a radiology resident and she was in pediatrics. More names ... more cities ... Boston, Chicago, New York, California ...

By the way ... I'm looking for the name of the resident who got Las Vegas as a placement yesterday. If he's reading this ... I've got a cash deal for you if you want to let me take that one myself ...

Then it was Nikki's turn.

My heart was on the floor. It was like watching her graduate from kindergarten all over again ... hoping she (and I ) would make it through. She opened the envelope and said "Nicole Momberg ... Internal Medicine ... (sobbing) ... Savannah (sniffles) Georgia (bawling) ..."

Her fist pumped the air and she came over and gave me a great big hug as she whispered to me "Dad ... quit crying ... you baby ...I love you".

Everyone asked me if she really got her first choice because she was so low key ...
"Yes, she did  ... that was just her being overjoyed and me happily crying like a baby."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oldies But Goodies

Sometimes I'll find great pictures and create news stories around them. These were all senior citizens with lots of chutzpah (Keli ... that's a lot of NERVE). Who knows .... might be true???


When Shirley Spivak was just three years old she told her mother that she wanted to join the circus. Shirley's mother naturally wanted to know where she got such an interesting idea. No one in the family had ever been in that business.

"I want to make people happy," said Shirley
"Very admirable," answered Mrs. Spivak, "now would you pass me one of your cigarettes?"
"Certainly, mom."

Shirley celebrated 100 years as Barnum and Bailey's oldest living belly dancer.


Blanche and Harold Outatouch were found Saturday morning wandering the pier in Santa Monica after being reported missing by their children, Betsy and Harold, Jr. Blanche and Harold were members of the Yuma, Arizona Dirty Dozen (a small but powerful button making union ... in the throes of  a fierce management struggle to create a new button mandate schedule for the workers.)

Somehow the Outatouch couple wandered into the desert and walked for days until they happened upon a tour bus of tourists willing to feed them. 


Tickets on sale now at the Boise Playhouse

$5 for Reserved Seating
$2 for General Seating

Proceeds benefit "The Association of Women Who Should Know Better But Really Don't Give A Damn Once They Pass Ninety" and "Homeless People Who Want to Learn The Fluglehorn"
(wait a minute ... Deloris might be Dominic ... aww what the heck when you get that old sexes seem to just blend anyway)

Say da Secret Woid ...

There was a time that I had hair and functional knees, could see my feet without sitting down, peed only once before I went to bed and had zits instead of precancerous skin lesions.  It was a time that I baked all day at the beach, I threw my kids in the air (sometimes I'd catch them) and had a groucho moustache and big ugly glasses.

There was a time ...

I was just looking at these old pictures tonight  ... and wondered: "Who the hell's that goofy looking guy holding my children?"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Keli Hatched a Good One Tonight

Here's a quick Sunday night sis-in-law Keli UPDATE:

Keli was driving her two daughters home after a visit to the school's science lab. Her younger daughter showed her the "lion bunny" who just gave birth to 8 new little lion bunnies.

Here is the conversation that  followed in the car:

Keli ... "Eight Bunnies, huh? Did you see the eggs?"
Daughter #1 ... "Eggs? What are you talking about?"
Keli ... "Eggs ... you know the things that the bunnies came out of?"
Daughter #2 ... "Mom, there weren't any eggs."
Keli ... "Oh yeah? Well, then ... how were the bunnies born?"
Daughter #1 ... "Seriously mom? They have babies like you do."
Keli ... "Well ... um ... I knew that ... I was just testing you ..."
Daughter #1 ... "No you weren't ... you thought they came from eggs."
Later ...
Keli ... "You know when I asked you about the eggs ... here's the thing. Easter baskets have always come with ... what? Eggs and chocolate bunnies ... right? Do you ever see a chocolate chicken in the basket? No. So ... logically you would think that bunnies lay eggs ... right?"
Silence, then ....
Daughter #1 ... "Sure ... when you are 3 years old ... Mom, please don't tell anyone else that, okay?"

Keli told me which ensured everyone else finding out .... however, Keli ... I did find proof of a possible suspect (left). 

Get UP

For maybe the second or third time in my life ... I walked out of a movie yesterday. Alice in Wonderland 3D was so boring, so dark (the picture ... even more than the plot), and those stupid 3D glasses gave me a headache and made me want to throw up.

Other than that it was just fine.

However ... there is a movie that I think deserves to be mentioned again and again as the best picture of the year ... Up. It's not the same kind of movie as Precious or Hurt Locker ... it's better. Okay, maybe I'm not the sophisticated movie critic that some proport to be (or not to be ... that is the question). But this is truly one of the best movies I have ever seen. It will make you feel great.

There ... I've said it ... Don't ask ALICE .... Get UP.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What a night!

Debbie and I got to the dinner a little late but there was a beautiful table ready for us. The place was filled with men in tuxedos and women in long dresses dining in elegance ... even the servers were dressed to the nines and everybody addressed us by name. The food was spectacular and plentiful. We ate enough lobster and steak to feed an army.

At the end of dinner, the emcee asked us to come up on stage. He introduced us to the crowd and everyone stood and applauded wildly. We looked at each other ... embarrassed with the outpouring. I spoke to the crowd ... and every word I said was met with more applause. It was as if I could do no wrong.

There was a beautiful Steinway grand piano sitting to our right (once owned by Elton John ... how I knew this is anyone's guess). Our emcee invited me to play.  At first, I politely declined ... but the crowd would not hear of it. So I reluctantly sat behind the keys and played "As Time Goes By". It was a fairly simple version but always a crowd pleaser. THIS CROWD absolutely loved it ... a standing ovation. They hollered for more ... I was stunned ... I played everything I could think of from dixieland to rhythm and blues ... standards and doo wop.

More applause.

Then the lights dimmed and a beautiful young lady came out on stage. There was music coming through the sound system that trumpeted an incredible Academy Awards type of intro. The young lady handed an envelope to the emcee.

Emcee .... "Mr. and Mrs. Momberg, would you join me center stage?"
Debbie and I stepped up to the center.
Emcee .... "It is my great honor and privilege to present you with this token of our gratitude for doing such a wonderful thing for us tonight and for all that you have done in the past for us."
Me ... "Um ... We're sincerely touched by your generosity but I'm not sure what we did to deserve ..."
Emcee ... "Oh you are both too humble ... please ... open the envelope."
I held the envelope in my hand and saw the writing on the front. It clearly had seven zeroes ... $10,000,000 ... payable to ... ME. I ripped at the envelope but couldn't get it opened. Debbie tried too ... we struggled and struggled ... until ....

.... ZZZZZZZZZZZ... The alarm went off and I woke up. Just a few more minutes PLEASE ... just a few more ... it would have been REAL ... wouldn't it? WOULDN'T IT ???

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thanks Friend!

Just back from New York and to my surprise and delight ... I got another friend's award ... this time it was from Annika who has a wonderfully written blog: .

Be sure to visit her regularly.

Thanks Annika!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Love New York

Yes I do ... I love New York ... I especially love listening to the locals.

Even the guys with the handmade signs for those Comedy shows on Times Square crack me up (I'm an easy audience). One guy has a sign that reads "I'm Holding a Sign" while another whispers in your ear "Hey .... wanna see a marginally funny comedy show?"

Last night night we were waiting for a table at Bobby Van's (great steakhouse, btw) and at the bar were four guys who were having a "mine's bigger than yours" night. They were feeling no pain ...

#1 ... "Hey man ... that's bulls*t. There's no f*in' way that would happen."
#2 ... "You don't know s*t ..."
#3 ... "YOU don't know s*t ..."
#2 ... "Who the f*k was talkin to you? I was f*in talking to him ... "
#3 ... "Well I was f*in' talkin' to you ... What do you f*in' think about that?"
#4 ... "None of you know what the f*k you're talkin about."
#1 ... "Hey ... what the f*k were we talkin' about?"
#2 ... "Who the f*k knows ... Sal's buyin' the next round ..."
#3 ... "I ain't buying the next round ... it's Carmine's turn ..."
#4 ... "F*k you."
#1 ... "F*k you."
#2 ... "F*k you and the horse you road in."
#4 ... "Know what? I f*in' love you guys ..."
#3, #2, #1 .... "Yeah .... me too .... f*in' right ..."  

Aldo .... I f*in' love you ... too!

Monday, March 8, 2010

THE Big Apple

Headed to New York today to catch the Big East Tournament. Our own USF Bulls have a shot ... Dominique Jones (leading scorer in the Big East and one of our own just got named to the All Big East First Team).

Deb and I will catch some plays (and I'll catch some zzzzzzz's ... something about a dark theater just makes me sleepy).

Wish us luck and watch on ESPN tomorrow (and hopefully the rest of the week!)

Go Bulls.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Yittan ... anyone?

Have I told you about my sister-in-law Keli or Kelli or Kelly or Kelley? She sometimes has trouble with words so I gave her a few choices if she decides to change the spelling of her name to comment. She's a regular reader of my blog so she will undoubtedly defend herself in print.

Keli (I picked the one no one else would because that's what Keli would pick) is a trip. I love her dearly. A self described "blonde" ... she speaks before any rational thought enters her brain. Questions about Judaism for example (Note: Keli that refers to "Jews") have often been directed my way. I am undoubtedly the only Jew that Keli knows ... so I'm happy to answer.

The conversation usually begins like this ...

K ...   "Joel .. you know the language that you people use in Israel?"
Me ... " I assume by 'my people' you mean ... the Jews?"
K ...   "Yeah ... you know the Yittans ... how is it that they ..."
Me ... "Wait .. Keli ... the Yittans?"
K ...    "Uh huh ... the language you use ... it's Yittan. right?"
Me ... "You mean Yiddish?"
K ...    "I thought it was Yittan. You remember when I met the ribbi, Jah Kobe? I thought he spoke that."
Me ...  "No ... listen. He is a RABBI and his name is JACOB and he probably knows YIDDISH. Keli ... if I were you, I wouldn't speak to anyone about Jews outside of our immediate family."

Three months after this conversation, she still confuses Yiddish with Ebonics.

When she has a few drinks ... she's even funnier. One memorable night at a hotel bar on the evening before my nephew's wedding, Keli asked me to play the piano while she sang her rendition of Brad Paisley's "Alcohol" . I was not a Paisley fan and didn't know the song ... so Keli found it on her itunes and stuck the earpiece in my ear so I could figure it out. It's not a tough song to play so I played with the chorus singing in my one ear and Keli singing in the other. Believe it or not .... they were out of synch. And Keli's strong bellowing of "ALCOHOL, ALCOHOL" had 32 notes more than Paisley. (all out of tune)

But friends ... Keli DID redeem herself yesterday and really nailed me.

She emailed the fam about my father-in-law's medical issues and my mother-in-law's responses (she is definitely the matriarch of this clan).

She wrote: "Dr. Mom said PopPop may never straighten up. He lost all his Testes -trone". I replied that perhaps JoAnn meant that his testes fell in the throne. My brother- in-law was interested in knowing about the sexual nature of the "straightening up" comment. Being the clever writer that I THINK I am ... and because I counted 7 members of the sibling clan, I replied: "Well ... I think he only straightened up 7 times in the past, anyway."

Keli jumped on that comment and replied "That would be 6 (Debbie and Dennie are twins)"


My brother- in- law, Tom (The Joker) said: "Outsmarted by a blonde! Suicide is the only option". 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Two Wild and Crazy Guys

Last night, my buddy Joe Sambito was in town.

We've been friends for 20 years. Our daughters played sports together, we went through divorces together, we hung out like Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd together and last night we were two old farts talking about old fart things together.

Joe was a former major league baseball picher with the Astros, Mets and Red Sox during the 70s and 80s. He was as famous for his left arm as he was for his hair.

Sports Illustrated once wrote about Joe ...  "His secrets of success include not one, but two major league fastballs, a nasty slider and not one, but two or three hair dryers. He holds one fastball so that the ball sails in on righthanded hitters. The other fastball sinks. He employs a conventional grip on both the slider and the hair blower."

Joe was always the guy that women went crazy over. During our "wild and crazy" post divorce single days, Joe and I would hang out at a beach bar called the Hurricaine. On a typical night, Joe would meet 93 women and get 93 phone numbers and I'd meet two: One would tell me to get lost and the other would ask me for Joe's phone number.

One year ... we both even had disfunctional girlfriends at the same time. Mine was a bartender addicted to pain killers and his was a schizophrenic flight attendant. There's nothing like a disfunctional woman to keep us sicko men interested.

Fortunately for me, I found Debbie .... almost totally functional ... and better still .... willing to actually marry me.

And fortunately for Joe, he met and married Jennifer. They have two beautiful kids and live in California now.

Joe is a baseball agent/player's rep. We see each other periodically and have the kind of friendship that regardless of how long it's been ... we pick up from where we left off.

And last night?

Well ... last night the conversation wasn't quite the wild and crazy one it used to be ... more like:

Joe ... "... I didn't tell you ... been having arthritis problems in my left shoulder."
Me ... "Your pitching arm? How bad is it?"
Joe ... "Doctor had to go in and clean it up ... can't play golf for a while."
Me ... "That sucks."

Silence while we drink and shake our heads.

Joe ... "Hey do you remember the redhead with the big ...?"
Me ... "How can I forget ... What do you think happened to her?"
Joe ... "Don't know."
Me ... "Me either."

More silence while we chew on peanuts and take another sip.

Me ... "You know I got my right knee checked out ...  hurts like crap when I climb stairs."
Joe ... "That's not good."
Me ... "No ... you're right."

We both take out our cell phones and check messages.

Me ... "Hey do you remember the blonde who drove that red Corvette ... she was a realtor I think."
Joe ... "Sure ... she was good lookin ... what was her name?"
Me ... "Um ... Can't remember."

Suddenly we both realized the time, hugged each other and headed home wondering where the time flew ... after all ... it WAS ten o'clock!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm Officially a Blogger

I won!

That's right ... I won an award (left) and my new blog buddy Chrissy gave it to me. Two things I am now very proud of ... winning an award and having a blog buddy (I can't believe these comments came from my slow typing single digits). For those of you who have never ventured into this world of blogging, I know this sounds queer to say but ... it's pretty cool.

I'm not sure I can follow all the rules that go along with winning this award, but I'm gonna try. The Sweet Friends Award has the following guidelines:

1. Paste this to the blog (did it)
2. List 10 things that make you happy, do one of them today.(below)
3. Select 10 bloggers who brighten your day.(I only really know Chrissy ... and her blog cracks me up ... be sure to visit her :

Here's a list of things that make me happy ... in no particular order:

1. Drinking
2. Eating
3. Gambling
4. Sleeping
5. TV
6. Sex
7. Stopping at 6 instead of having to strain to think of 4 others.

By the way ... My wife's list would have been much longer than 10 (filled with things like ... being with friends, being with family, going to church, cleaning the house, doing my nails, reading, etc.) No wonder we are so compatible.

Chrissy ... thanks for thinking of me. I hope you don't rethink it after reading my answers.

Ballad of the Big Prostate

Here’s a little country tune I wrote just yesterday to commemorate a dark day in my history. I don’t have a tune but realized you can use an...