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Showing posts from June, 2011

From Streetcars to Waitresses

When I was 12, streetcars and buses were my major mode of transportation.

Twice a week, I would take the Napolean Avenue bus from my house, transfer to the St. Charles Avenue streetcar and walk about ten blocks to Touro Hospital to Dr. Cohen’s office. I got allergy shots on every visit.
According to my mother, I was allergic to everything from house dust to outside air (different … I always thought ... from inside air). I didn’t really know what was in these shots. I don’t remember really having any conversations or even a physical exam at Dr. Cohen’s office. That’s not to say we didn’t … I just don’t recall any. 
Other than getting stuck with needles, I really liked those trips to the doctor’s office. There was a corner restaurant, Allgood’s, that had great burgers and milkshakes. I remember feeling very grown up as I made my way to the counter and said hello to the waitresses who knew me.  

Debbie told me after she read this, "So ... that explains how you got hooked on drugs, …

Do Over: Take A Lap ... Make it Wide!

It's a dreary Sunday and I'm sitting on my patio listening to Irma Thomas sing "It's Raining". Thoughts of New Orleans drift in and out of my mind. Here's a "Do Over" entry about a few of my old coaches in high school. (Yes ... I'm too lazy to write a new one).


first published  9/5/09

Fortier High School had three coaches that ran the sports program: Mook Clavier (Cluh-veah), Coach Didier (Did-e-yay), and Stanley Richard (Reee-shad). For purposes of this writing, I'll focus on Coach Richard. 


Richard was my favorite and one of the most colorful characters I have ever known.

He was shorter than the rest ... about 5'8" and built like Mr. Universe (he was actually Mr. New Orleans one year). He also had a speech impediment that could have been caused by his missing upper dental plate or the apparent head trauma that must have plagued him when he played sports as a youngster.

Every day, before class we would have roll call. Coach Richard co…

Wierd News

Who can focus on the Casey Anthony Trial when there are news stories like these ...

Chattanooga, TN … A Tennessee man’s body is being exhumed to remove dentures that belong to another man after a mix-up at a Chattanooga hospital. 

Court records obtained by the newspaper showed Manis died on June 12. The dentures were with personal items placed inside his coffin. Counts said Manis’ family asked that the dentures be removed. Parkridge Medical Center spokeswoman Alison Counts told The Chattanooga Times Free Press that the body of 76-year-old Kenneth Ray Manis will be exhumed after his family learned the dentures belonged to an intensive care patient who shared the same hospital room.
The hospital has apologized and will be paying for new dentures, as well as reburial costs and attorney’s fees. The hospital declined to identify the patient who lost his dentures.
Miami, FL … The FBI has arrested a man accused of putting on a suit and tie, robbing a South Florida bank and then leaving in a taxi…

Sammy Called

Sammy called me ... 6 times in a row.

He had left a message on my home phone and called Debbie twice. I was on a business call when I heard those awful beeps. I have to admit ... I noticed the call waiting name and decided to wait. I knew what he wanted. It was far from an emergency.

I called him back:

"Hi Dad."

"Joel ... what can I do for you?"

"Um ... Dad ... you were trying to call me."

"Oh yeah. Listen ... do you know how I can get in touch with the Schmidlaps (not their real name, btw)? They were very good to me when I was here before."

"That was 30 years ago, Dad. I don't know where they are. I can look it up when I get ..."

"Do you know his first name?"

"It's Stan."

There was silence ... "Dan?"

"No, Stan."

"Dan?"

Okay. Here I was ... on my way to work ... speaking on a car speaker ... in rush hour traffic. I was now speaking very loudly. "No. Stan ... S...T...A...N.&…

The Day for Dads

My oldest daughter Nicole sent me a great Dad's Day gift: Old pictures of the family.

Took me back to the days when I looked like a cross between Mr. Kotter and Groucho Marx.

Nikki had a face full of freckles, Alissa looked like a China doll and Josh was all cheeks.

















Nikki used to be a big drinker.
















Alissa was raised by Indians until she was about 10.

















This picture was taken just before Josh uttered his first words: "Dad ... you got any cash?"















You know ... they all turned out pretty great ... despite their crazy Daddy.

Nikki ... thanks for reminding me. Sammy ... Happy Dad's Day from one Dad to another!  I LOVE YOU ALL.

My New Favorite Cartoonist

These were sent to me with the message "Remember The Far Side". I do ... loved them ... and now this cartoonist has become my new favorite.
Enjoy!

********************************************************************************** By the way ... my nephew, Shane Metler, has a great website. it's been a terrific way for artists to show their goods, patrons to get the goods and everyone else to appreciate the goods.
Check it out: www.nobullart.com

There Ain't No Granola Bars In Baseball!

Well ... we've been home for two days and it's a great feeling. You know how you feel when you get away from home for a week and then return? Ahhhh. The best.

Tonight ... after work, we changed into our Rays shirts, headed to the stadium and watched The Rays beat up on the Red Sox.

It was a beautiful thing.

There was a slight change in our routine, however. Ordinarily, we would get to the stadium, buy a couple of dogs and fill them with mustard, get a couple of beers ... maybe a bag of peanuts ... maybe a couple of more beers ... and eat our way through nine innings.

I am now officially a porker.

After getting off the boat and not being able to see my feet ... I knew it was serious diet time. Plus ... I felt like crap. Debbie thinks she is a porker too but I believe she's only gained a pound ... I, on the other hand, became pregnant with twins.

Don Zimmer (pictured) has nothin' on me (except 20 years or so).

Debbie made sure we didn't fall into the food trap tonight…

Day Nine: Update

We got on the flight!

... but we are stuck in Atlanta (missed our connection). Staying at the beautiful Airport Hampton.

If you see our luggage ... tell them we miss them and will see them EARLY tomorrow morning. I HOPE.

- The Dead-est Catch

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Found this video that Debbie shot of me on the whale boat in Juneau. It's destined to become a cult film.




Day Nine: Debarkation ... the Nightmare Returns

Here's what the cruise brochure says: 
"Debarkation: For our suite passengers, relax in the Wheelhouse Lounge on Deck Seven until we escort you to your luggage. You have priority Debarkation privileges as one of our special VIPs".
I admit ... We picked the snooty VIP status because we didn't want to wait in those Godawful lines and miss our airline connection. Also ... Because we are snooty.
Apparently, we read the wrong brochure or THEY LIED. Here's what really happened:
At 7AM we went to the Wheelhouse Lounge and had a muffin and apple juice and waited with the rest of the passengers until ... 9 o'clock ... when we could finally get off the freaking boat ... unescorted ... Behind the senior citizens brigade with walkers and canes (I know, I know), the Vienna Boy Choir and the entire cast of Glee.
Meanwhile ... Debbie was checking our flight status (remember we fly standby which means we also wait behind the aforementioned group and enyone with real money), and …

Day Eight: Victoria, Canada Tonight

Gotta tell ya ... last night was a pleasant surprise.

We saw a show featuring a guy named Steve Moris. He was actually very talented. No schmaltzy "cruise music" ... this guy was the real deal. Apparently, he's played with every band known to mankind from Beach Boys and Jan and Dean to Clint Black and Tanya Tucker. He's got a slide show with all of them grinning and hugging. (Of course ... he could just be good with photo shop or goes to a lot of concerts.)

On stage it was just Steve and an acoustic guitar. We got a preview of his talent the night before when we got a glimpse of his comedy routine. His guitar styles are varied. He did a great rendition of Mason Williams' Classical Gas and ended with Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline with heavy reverb and dangling consonants.

He's going to have a steady gig at the Palace Station in Vegas come October. Check him out.

We found the best on board restaurant last night as well ... Santa Fe. I got kicked out, howeve…

Day Seven: At Sea (Again)

It was LOAD OUT day today.

We didn't wake up until ten o'clock. We ordered room service from ... um ... Enrique or Armando or Artemis ... I can't remember his name. He's very nice, though. All the cabin stewards have to meet strict guidelines: They must be between 4' and 5' tall, barely speak or understand English and move lightning fast (they appear and disappear within 5 seconds after you leave and return to the cabin).

It was too cold to eat on our deck ... so Debbie and I had to "rough it" inside.

After that we watched the movie about that guy and girl who raised the baby for their friends who died. We both cried ... Debbie did because it was about babies and I did because I even cry when I watch Baywatch (don't ask).

It was trivia day in the Fusion Nightclub ... so we wandered down, grabbed a paper and pencils  and joined a team of four from Seattle. I was all set to kick butt when the Jamaican crew member who was running the show told us tha…

Day Six: Skagway, Alaska

Today we took a step back in time.
During the Gold Rush, over a hundred years ago, Skagway was considered the shortest route to the Klondike ... even though you had to climb dangerous mountains and survive the cruelest elements. In 1898, it was Alaska's largest town with a population of about 20,000. Dance Halls, saloons and gambling houses prospered. Then suddenly in the early 1900's, the gold rush shifted to Nome and Skagway dwindled to 1000. 
But it still has the flavor of the gold rush era.
All right ... enough of this Chamber of Commerce commercialization ... I'm not gonna give you a test on this stuff. Skagway is a tiny place with some cool old buildings that takes all of about 3 hours to see. 
That's why it was about that long for our shore excursion.
When we got off the ship, we noticed that the rocks along the mountains were hand painted with stuff like The Princess docked here 1974 or John Loves Mary or Klondike Slim loves His Horse.
The place was covered with thes…

Day Five: Juneau, Alaska

This morning … at about 6AM, we passed through the fiords at Tracy Arm.  We were told to wake up early to see it. Well, honestly, I wasn’t sure what that sight would look like … since I didn’t know what a fiord was and Tracy Arm sounded like a fleabag hotel.

It was spectacular.
Tracy Arm sported a narrow fiord (body of water between steep mountains), glacially polished rock and hanging waterfalls. The water depth is 1000 feet. How the heck the ship manages to navigate through the floating icebergs (only one tenth of which is visible above the waterline) is a mystery to me.
I managed to drag myself out of the room to get some pictures. I was extremely tired after a strenuous night of lifting plastic chips, pushing buttons and watching for opportunities to double down, take a hit or tell the lady next to me why she shouldn’t split kings. I was a finalist in the blackjack tournament … came in second … which is to say … I lost. My consolation prize was a hat and tee shirt with Player’s Club …