Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Modern Family

I admit it ... I'm a fan.

If you haven't yet seen Modern Family, the sitcom on ABC on Wednesday nights, you are missing the best show on TV in YEARS..

Here's the premise: Jay recently married Gloria. Now Jay is trying hard to keep up with his much younger and hotter Colombian wife, along with her passionate pre-teen son, Manny. Claire (Jay's daughter) is having a hard time raising her own family. Her husband Phil is great, except that he thinks he's "down" with their three kids, much to all their embarrassment. And, Mitchell (Jay's son) and his enthusiastic partner Cameron have just made a major life change by adopting a Vietnamese baby named Lily.

Jay is "Al Bundy" from Married With Children (one of my other favorites from year's past) ... remember him? Manny wears silk shirts that you would typically see only on the backs of 80 year old men and uses phrases like ...." You look stunning in that dress."
Tonight's episode highlights:

Cameron is the fill-in drummer for Haley's boyfriend's band.
Phil's dad has an impromtu visit and a brings the family a dog.
Luke runs through the screen door unaware that it was even there.
Manny plays hookie from school with Jay, to watch a horror movie that frightens him so badly he does "sentry duty" at home with his fencing sword.
They never seem to run out of ideas on this show ... and the dialogue is spot on. 
Debbie insists that I really only watch the show because of Gloria, Jay's young wife. I gotta tell you ....
... I hardly even notice her.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stuck Here For a While

I had my first MRI the other day.

Make that I had my first Magnetic Resonance ... "squeeze your fat ass into a tube after you get a mask strapped to your face and stuffed into a tube the size of an air conditioning vent while hammers and loud sirens are pumped into the chamber" ... Imaging procedure.

I didn't know if you picked up on the fact that I wasn't enamored with the process.

The technicians that took care of me were nice enough guys. They had seen it all before so I know they were just being kind when they gave me a panic button. I pressed it 37 times like I was a contestant on Jeopardy. No one really heard it ... I'm sure it wasn't connected.

I think they were thinking about the patient that was next up after me ... she had been sitting in the waiting room while everyone figured out how to "fit her in".

I asked them about the results after 40 minutes of pure torture in the chamber ... they appropriately said "Your doctor will give you the findings after he consults with the radiologist ... but we do have a CD for you to take with you."

Wow ... I had my own CD of my brain ... I wasn't sure about the images. But Debbie was positive that one view showed the Virgin Mary. (Man ... she must have really been having a hard time getting a room.)

I think you'll all agree that this profile image was truly the most accurate.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Couple Together ... Always

Kudos to the St. Petersburg Times for the story on the front page of the B Section in today's paper.
It's not about rape, violence, suicide or any of the other "uplifting" stories that are usually front page news.

Instead it is a very touching story about two ordinary people who had an extraordinary relationship.

Jimmy and Bettie Wise met in Baltimore in 1945. On that day ... he and one of his Navy buddies happened upon Bettie and a friend of hers in a restaurant. Jimmy's friend picked the blonde.

"Good," Jimmy said. "I like the brunette."

They got married one year later and lived in Savannah, Georgia ... where Jimmy drove locomotives for the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad carrying passengers from Florida to Maine ... on the Silver Meteor. His father did the same thing. They moved back to Baltimore the next year. Bettie taught elementary school and Jimmy drove the freight trains which supplied Bethlehem Steel.

Theirs was a love affair of polar opposites. He was outgoing ... she was quiet. But they were inseparable. They shopped for groceries together, cooked together and even did dishes together.

She washed ... he dried.

After dinner, Jimmy retreated to the basement where he added to his multilevel electric train set. Bettie sat in the living room with a crossword puzzle or her latest library book. He taught her how to drive their first car ... a Dodge with fins and push button controls. On weekends, they grilled hot dogs and jumped on pogo sticks and made milk shakes.

Sometimes they got in squirt gun fights ... giggling and chasing each other around the house. Every so often ... they moved the furniture aside and danced the jitterbug, Charleston or just clung to each other and swayed to the slow songs from the hi-fi.

Thirty years ago they moved to Clearwater Beach, Florida and rented a condo. Each morning, they took bag lunches with their retired friends, ate under beach umbrellas that Jimmy had set up and stayed until 4 PM swimming and turning brown under the sun.

Jimmy walked three or four miles every day, his metal detector sweeping over the sand, looking for loose change to give his grandson. He walked back to the condo, woke his wife and started breakfast.

That was their life before health problems ended their beach days.

When they were in their 80's, Jimmy legs could no longer support him and he had difficulty taking care of Bettie who suffered with heart problems and diabetes. They moved to an assisted living facility and Jimmy traded his morning walks to morning drives on his motorized scooter ... 10 miles a day.

Bettie's condition worsened. She was moved to a nursing unit and Jimmy would visit regularly ... ordering the foods she liked and getting her to eat them. Her condition worsened.

As she declined ... he declined with her.

They shared a room in the nursing area and in the last month asked the nurses to turn the bedrails down and push the beds together. For three days they held hands.

On April 4th, Jimmy told his daughter how grateful he was to have lived a full life ... free of tragedy ... with a steady job. He also told her was ready to die. Two days later, at 2PM on April 6th he died at 88 years old.

Nurses put fresh flowers on the empty bed next to Bettie. Although she was unresponsive, her eyebrows and hands moved when she was told of Jimmy's passing.

Bettie died four days later.

Their daughter said, "Everyone said this is so in keeping with the way they lived. He went first to get everything ready."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Giving Back

Okay so what?
So ... I didn't feel like coming back from LA without taking a side trip to Vegas. What do you mean I sound defensive? I am not! I just happen to enjoy unwinding with a little blackjack ... slot machine ... roulette  ... ya know?
This is the ridiculous conversation I had with myself the other day. My "Vegas Persona" won, of course ... always does.

... So I got a room at my favorite little motel: Caesar's Palace and cleaned out my bank account and began my personal quest to becoming Mr. Papagiorgio (via ... National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation).

You see ... I always feel like Mr. Papagiorgio when I go to Vegas.

Because ... they like me. They send me all these wonderful brochures and offer me 4 and 5 night stays at the beautiful hotels ... all for free ... because ... they like me. I drink for free and eat for free and they call me Mr. Momberg (short for Papagiorgio) and tell me to have a good time ... because they LIKE me.

They DO like me ... don't they?

And I always feel that because they are so good to me ... I need to ... give back. I feel it's the least I can do while I'm there. So I take part in all the activities that they offer in the casinos ... to ... you know ... help the wonderful people that have given me so much ...

- The Casino Host ... with the pretty gold chains that match his pretty gold bracelet.

- The Blackjack Dealer/Roulette Spinner ... usually Asian and with a name like Kim or Ana ... not much on small talk but really quick on the draw(or spin).

- The Cocktail Girls ... often well endowed and more often lately about 50 years old. They have the familiar singing response as they walk by ... "Drinks? COCKtails?"

- The Slot Payoff People ... not sure the technical term but they are my favorites. They are so happy when you win and congratulate you up and down. They seem to disappear for a long time though ... after you give them your drivers' license and wait for your payoff.

Ah yes ... I owe them so much. They have truly taught me how to GIVE back.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Later today

... And I thought she was dead.

Business Trip

It's my third day in the "Land of Fruits and Nuts".

Actually, I'm a big fan of LA. Must be something about coming to a place that is always on the brink of insanity that I'm drawn to. New Orleans has hurricanes, the French Quarter and crooked politicians. California has earthquakes, Hollywood and financial chaos.

My kinda town(s).

This is actually a business trip. Yesterday, I was in San Francisco meeting with the Osher Foundation located in the Ferry Building overlooking the Bay. Last night we had dinner with alumni of USF at a cool oriental restaurant, Betelnut, owned by one of the alums. Tonight we have dinner at The Wilshire Restaurant and tomorrow, a party at the Malibu home of another alum/benefactor.

I know ... I know. Business trips really suck, don't they?


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's All About the Ring Finger

Recognize this photo?

Yep ... it's Jesse James' girlfriend ... the tattoo model who apparently was one of a few thousand young ink covered ladies that Jesse played with when Sandra (America's Sweetheart) Bullock was not around.

There is not a person on earth who has forgiven him for what he did and few can understand why he strayed. Sandra Bullock ... of all people.

Sex addiction?  NO WAY.

The reason was in an obscure publication that I read just the other day ... and no one has put two and two together ... except for me!

The answer is (drum roll):

His ring finger is longer than his index finger.

That's right! The ring finger holds the clue. See the article below:

The ratio between index and ring finger is believed to be linked to exposure to the male hormone testosterone in the womb. On average, men tend to have longer ring fingers and women longer index fingers. The higher the testosterone, the greater the length of the ring finger and the more "masculine" the resulting child – whether male or female. The longest ring finger is known as the "Casanova pattern".[2]

A new study just released from University of Alberta reveals that men with longer ring fingers compared to their index fingers tend to be more physically aggressive.

Also, ring finger longer = more likely to cheat on your partner...
Didn't know that huh?

Actually, I've been aware of this for some time. The picture (LEFT) was taken in my single days.

Thank heavens I found out about a rare hand transplant procedure ... before I met Debbie.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Greetings from the Jewish Guy

Happy Easter to my non-Jewish friends!
Note: Jews call the majority of the world "non-Jews". It's our way of dealing with the fact that most people are not Jewish and have control of the major holidays throughout the year.

My wife is a non-Jew (or shiksa). She, of course, celebrates Easter by going to church and praying for sinners like her husband who was sleeping when she left this morning.

I wasn't alone in bed. Yes ... there was a female snuggled right next to me. Her name was Gracie and Debbie was perfectly fine with this arrangement. In fact ... I was sleeping in Gracie's bed. And her cousin, Simon was sleeping close by.

Okay ... okay ... it's not as exciting as you think.

Gracie and Simon are dachsunds. Gracie belongs to Debbie's twin, Dennie and Simon belongs to Dennie's daughter Courtney. We are dog sitting this weekend at Dennie and Tom's house. Gracie apparently sleeps in their bed and Simon sleeps under it.

I had a little trouble sleeping last night. I can't really blame the dogs ... just getting used to a different bed and a different house. It didn't help that on the bedside table was a picture of a crucified Jesus being helped off the cross. It was less scary to me than the one Dennie used to have ... Hologram Jesus who followed you with his eyes. Tom, my equal in lack of religious fervor, sent me a great book that I now keep at home next to my bed. It has pictures of Jesus and Mary on food and other objects.

Of course ... this all pales to "Big Mary", Debbie's travelling statue that I had the pleasure of meeting when we were dating. She was a three foot tall statue on wheels that sat next to me at dinnertime that was never talked about until I asked the question ...

"Um ... Debbie? That's an interesting statue of ... is it Mary?"
Debbie ... "Oh that. I was hoping you might not notice. I know that probably freaked you out."
Me ... "Notice? I was going to invite her to sit down to dinner with us."
Debbie ... "She's a travelling Mary ... I have her for a few weeks and then the man picks her up and takes her somewhere else. My mom arranged it."

I asked her no more questions.

By the way, I DID finally get to sleep last night. Eventually, I laid the picture down so Jesus couldn't see me and I couldn't see him.

Before I get hit by lightning ... have a great Easter Sunday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guinea Pig for a Day

Tonight we celebrated a $5.6 million gift from a wonderful organization to fund our Diabetes Education Initiative at USF: Bringing Science Home.

And in addition to the traditional dinner, speeches, meet and greet , dog and pony show, etc ... I was asked (along with a few others) to get hooked up to an insulin pump for 24 hours to tell folks tonight "what it feels like to do this" ... as a non-diabetic ... and about the new found respect I have for diabetics going through this process every day. Now ... just so that I don't mislead you ... the pump contains saline solution, not insulin.

Yesterday ... I was "hooked up".

I had a choice of blue, silver or pink. Despite the crowd's persistance that I wear pink, I chose blue. Our coach and instructor was none other than Nicole Johnson, the head of our Diabetes education program. Nicole also has diabetes and, among other things, was famous for being Miss America in 1999 and a national spokesperson for Living With Diabetes. Stevie B. (my loyal coworker and the one who signed me up for this "volunteer effort") went first. He "bravely" chose silver and stepped right up and was instructed on how to squeeze the circular plastic spring loaded needle which would be inserted into the side of his stomache.

Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of this sewing needle hurling into my stomache. I was even less thrilled when Steve went first and screamed like a baby when it "unloaded". Turned out ... it was a set up. He thought he'd scare me with his little baby scream and that I would then be afraid to step up ... HA!

Actually, he was right. I stammered for a few minutes: "Um ... You know ... I think I might pass. There are lots of meetings I have to attend, my desk is filled with unfinished work, I have to pick up my wife from .... some ... appointment and my dog is sick ... um ... don't have a dog ... but he WOULD be sick if I had one ..."

Nicole just smiled and shook her head and handed me the "launcher". I lifted my shirt ... closed my eyes ... squeezed and .... wow ... no pain at all. I glared at Steve and promised him he would be fired right after the dinner.

So 24 hours later I couldn't wait to get rid of that thing. I've dropped the pager looking device in the toilet, caught it on a doorknob accidently, got tangled up in bed when I tossed and turned ... and in general ... found out how challenging this one small piece of equipment was to wear.

Nicole was right ... I have a HUGE appreciation for diabetics who wear these devices. And more than that ... I have a slight understanding of what day to day living is for them ... realizing what other hurdles they must have to overcome.

Finally ... I have come to the realization that my wife is right ... I am pretty much a wimp.

It would be just my luck to become the first man in history to develop a saline addiction.

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...