Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Cliff Diving Into 2013

Time to close the book on 2012 and to open a new one for 2013. (Some might call it "Cliff Diving into 2013"). Are you ready?

Well ... I for one ... am ready.

I looked at a number of sites for personal development and resolutions that will make me a better person. Here are the top five ....

1.Take a Trip Somewhere You Have Never Dreamed of Going. 

It's the year to surprise yourself and your family and plan a trip to a destination that you have never dreamed of before. Pull out a world globe and spin it  ... or put on a blindfold and point at a map. I already know where I'm going. I looked up the worst destinations ... I found a doozy.

The Mutter Museum of Medical History in Philadelphia. (listed as the top worst place in America to visit) 

Here's what I read:  Mutter Museum of Medical History is a museum of pathologies, ancient medical equipments and biological exhibits, situated in the oldest physicians popular training complex in North America. Most of all this muse…

Christmas Pickle ... It's a Tradition

Christmas morning and all is right in the world. Presents under the tree, coffee brewing, kids are asleep, a pickle ornament hanging on one of the branches ...

Wait a minute ... a pickle ornament?

Yes ... you heard it right. A pickle ornament. I admit I had no idea that there was a tradition of pickle ornaments but Debbie straightened me out. Even though she was unsure of why the heck you put a pickle on a tree.

After looking it up ... I found out that everyone else was confused too.

Theory 1. One theory was that it came from Germany and was referred to as Weihnachtsgurke. Translation: Put your pickle on the tree for good luck. (Yeah? Put YOUR pickle up there and see what kind of luck you have). I don't think that one is correct since nobody ever heard of that in Germany.

Theory 2. It may have started at Woolworths in the 1890s to coincide with the importation of glass ornaments from Germany. Naaahhhh ... How can that be if Germany never heard of it?

Theory 3. During the Civil W…

Do You Have This In Taupe?

Retail shopping is a genetic defect.

This is a disorder that primarily strikes women ... but also strikes men from time to time. You can tell the affected men by their understanding of the female conversation:

Guy (with retail shopping disorder): "Excuse me, is your purse a Louis?"

Girl: "Why yes ... it is."

Guy: "I love the style of that bag. Where did you get it?"

Well ... you get the picture. It goes downhill from here. I would give you more details if I could ... but I really don't know the language that well. I really should have Debbie fill in the rest.

Speaking of Debbie, we did a little shopping in Hyde Park yesterday. Hyde Park in South Tampa is an interesting place. A requirement to live or shop there is owning a Louis Vuitton bag. Not only did all the women have them ... they were all the same style.  Apparently, you also had to have blonde hair and 2.5 children.

When Debbie shops, it's a total out of body experience. When I shop, it&…

I Love Christmas

I have really been into Christmas this year.

I find myself listening to Christmas songs on the radio, Sirius, iTunes ... everywhere ... day and night. And Christmas movies. I can't get enough of them. I average one or two a night when I get home from work.

I've studied Christmas movies and they seem to fall into a few categories:



1. There are the Scrooge meets Groundhog Day films. You know the story ... the main character (usually a real jerk) is visited by angels who take him back and forth through his pitiful life until he changes OR he wakes up every morning before Christmas to relive a pathetic day that either hurt his family (always a brother who has unconditional love and is shunned) and his employees (who work Christmas day). In either scenario ... he wakes up on Christmas and is so happy to be alive and buys everybody a turkey.

2. The Christmas "Disaster" films.  Everything goes wrong ... the extended family invades the house and totally disrupts Christmas ..…

And the EMMY goes to ...

Got a text Saturday night December 1st ... from my buddy and fellow song writer Mike: "We just won da EMMY!"

We did? We really did? I couldn't believe it .... so I looked it up. Sure enough under category 14: Children/Youth, we tied with Floxy and Julio Episode 1 from Puerto Rico (an obvious winner in San Juan, I imagine).

Okay, it was the Suncoast Emmys, the regional show, not the national show (although I had my Sally Field speech ready to go ... wait ... that was the Oscars ... oh well I wasn't there anyway.)


Our nomination was "Chicken Named Mac" with Michael Sexton, me and Kevin Riley. Mike really wrote this song. It is such a great tune and is filled with super lyrics. It's all about nutrition and stars a fat chicken who "eats all the garbage that they throw at him" until he learns to "exercise and eats right ... SWEET".

Kevin is the animator (and one of the most talented guys you ever want to meet).  Oh ... I can't forget …

Let Us Give Thanks

Sammy was downstairs at Menorah Manor waiting for me to pick him up just like we discussed ... he was only three hours too early.

"Dad ... I've been trying to call you. The nurses told me that you have been sitting in the lobby since 2 o'clock. Where's your phone?"

He pulled it out of his pocket. "Here. I never got a call."

"It says that you have four missed calls."

"Is that what that means? See ... I told you it was broken."

"Okay Dad ... let's get going."

After a few tries, Sammy sat in the front seat of my car and settled in. He had important questions on the way over like ... "Do you ever dream, Joel?" and  "Did you put all this stuff in the car (the dashboard) or did it come with that?"

Debbie met us at the door. "Sammy ... I hope you're hungry. We've got some great food for you."

"I'm not particular. I'll eat whatever you have."

 "Well ... we've got…

Turkey? Stuffing? Waffle?

Sammy decided he would join the family today for Thanksgiving dinner.

He wasn't so sure the other day when I called him. Then again, he wasn't sure who was talking to him on the phone. He called me.

"Who's this?" He said.

"It's Joel ... your son."

"Oh. Hello Joel. What can I do for you."

"Well, you called me ... but while I have you on the phone ... do you want to come over for Thanksgiving on Thursday."

"No. But I would like a waffle."

Translation: 'I don't want to deal with 25 members of the family but I'd like you to take me to breakfast on Thursday morning instead.'

So, this morning, I took Sammy to IHOP to get a waffle. As soon as he got served I knew what he was going to say:

"It's not hot enough."

"Don't you think you should taste it first before you say that."

"It's never hot enough."

He waves the waitress down and asks her to heat up the waffle and get …

Only 120 hours Until Turkey Day

We're doing Thanksgiving at our house this year.

At breakfast, Debbie talked about 'the plan'. "Okay, Joel, I need your help today. I am setting up the table, so you need to get the leaves locked in for me."

"We are setting up the table today? Thanksgiving is 5 days away."

"Yes ... I know ... and we are already a week too late."

"A week too late? If I were doing it, we'd set up the table the day before and put the turkey in the oven and bingo ..."

"Yeah. bingo, we'd wind up at Shoney's eating turkey sandwiches."

"C'mon. I bet the average set up time that families take for Thanksgiving is about three days ... tops."

"Oh yeah? Well let's just look it up."

"Okay." Google brought up tons of Thanksgiving sites and of course ... I was wrong. One site suggested three weeks. I am not making this up ...

Three weeks out:

- Invite your guests 

Oh yeah ... our family doesn't need an …

The Crescent City

Ahhhhh ... Home again.

What a great time we had in New Orleans this weekend. We did some of the tourist stuff of course: Strolling down Royal, munching on po-boys at ACME, sucking down cafe au lait and beignets (although we did that at Morning Call in Metairie), gambling at Harrah's (and at Treasure Chest at the Lake) ...

The highlight of the weekend was a trip to Frenchmen Street Friday night. I could not believe how much that's changed ... It's where the locals live and party. It's what the Quarter USED to be like ... located just outside of the Quarter in the 7th Ward on the other side of Esplanade, Frenchmen Street has it all.

Snug Harbor is still there and rocking the night away with GREAT jazz acts. Any night you might see Charmaine Neville or Ellis Marsailis or Maria Muldaur. We saw Wess Anderson on sax and his son Wess Jr on trombone. They just killed it.

We went with our friends, the Longs who happened to notice me leaning over the balcony with my face in my …

My Pants are Ringing

"I've been calling you." Sammy said ... before I even said hello. The phone display said 'Menorah Manor' which told me that he was calling from the nursing station.

"I didn't get any messages. You okay?"

"Listen ... I dropped my phone a couple of times and now I get a white screen and can't call anybody. What do you think is wrong with it?"

"Well, off hand I'd say you broke it."

"I think I need a new battery."

"It's a brand new phone. I just got it for you two weeks ago. It's a Jitterbug ... they are supposed to be impossible to break."

"I know ... I think I need a battery."

"I think you need another phone."

"Can you fix it for me?"

"I'm not a phone repairman."

"The maintenance guy is getting me a new battery."

"Does he know it's a new phone?"

"Let me talk to Debbie."

"About the phone?"

"About my pants…

What Baby?

Sammy got his Save-the-date card for Nikki's wedding. My first born is getting married on February 2nd.

"Joel ... I got a postcard about Nikki's wedding."

"Great Dad. I knew it was coming ... it's pretty cool, huh?"

"Did you get one?"

"Um .... yes I did."

"Good ... that's good." he paused for a minute then continued. "You know ... I've been thinking about the baby."

"The what?"

"The baby. I know what Nikki should name the baby."

"Dad ... she's getting married ... not having a baby."

"Yeah. Well the baby should be named Lil-e."

"Lilly?"

"No ... Lil - E."

"LILLY"

"LIL - dash - E"

"I don't get it. What kind of name ... what am I SAYING? She's not having a BABY."

"I used to call your mother 'E' remember? Esther ... 'E'."

"I remember."

"Actually it was Little E ... LIL-…

Sammy on Saturday

"How's that girl doing at the university?"

"Dad ... are you talking about the President?"

"Yes ... her."

"She is doing fine."

"I hope she does something about education."

"Well, I think she does something about education every day."

"I mean something about how expensive it is. I read that we are spending a ridiculous amount of money. Maybe we should try to find other things to keep kids off the street."

"What?"

"Yeah that's right ... we spend too much money on education and health care and ... entertainment."

"Entertainment?"

"You didn't know that?"

"Dad ... the government doesn't ..."

"And ... I think we should probably get rid of football."

"At USF?"

"Everywhere."

"What? College football is your life. You watch every game played on TV."

"I could do without it ... it's ruining the country."

"…

Irish Adventures Part 4

One thing that you notice immediately when you arrive in Galway is that you are VERY OLD if you are over 30. There are two major universities in town and apparently, anyone our age (over ... um ... 40) doesn't come near the place.

Our hotel was located right on Eyre Square, filled with great little shops and quite a few pubs. Get this ... across the street was a TX Maxx (no relation to TJ Maxx) and a Penney's (no relation to JC Penneys ... or JCP).

What we also found out ... later that evening ... was that there was a nightclub behind the hotel that played loud music until 2AM and the walls in our rooms vibrated with every bass note. To get to the lobby, we had to crawl over drunken bodies and rivers of ... well, you don't want to know.

Undaunted, we decided to venture to the streets and found the greatest little restaurant/pub that featured Irish dancing and music.

The guitar player sang traditional ballads like Rose of Tralee, Danny Boy ... and Ring of Fire by Johnny O&…

Irish Adventures Part 3

We got an early start from Killarney in the morning.

Dennie was our resident tour guide and read about every historic and non historic fact that Steve Rick or Rick Steves (whoever he is) wrote about as we drove.

We headed to the Dingle Peninsula.
Ed note: Had to laugh at the name. In New Orleans ... Mr. Bingle is Santa's helper at Maison Blanche during Christmas time (he's a snowman with the ice cream cone hat) As a kid we used to sing the song: "Jingle jangle jingle ... here comes Mr. Bingle"


The town of Dingle was right out of a movie.

Fish and chips were the order of the day ... Guinness of course was served ... shopping ... sightseeing ...

The coastline truly is one of the most incredible places I have ever seen in my life...


Incredible views ...


... in every direction ...



... literally ...



There is even a full size statue of Jesus sitting in the mountain. If you look very closely ... you can see that there is a candle sitting at the foot of the statue. I held Deb…

Irish Adventures Part 2

Landed in Dublin on Tuesday morning and began what was to become the longest day of my life. (and a lot of fun)

We rented a car at the airport.

Enterprise was in a little room removed from the rest of civilization ... they must have ticked off someone at the airport. Tom agreed to drive (an act of unselfishness that I am sure he has regretted ever since).

After agreeing to the insurance clause by depositing our first born children, we were off.

Those of you unfamiliar with the Irish countryside, the roads were apparently constructed by sheepherders who had just finished off a few hundred gallons of Guinness. First of all ... the steering wheels of their cars are on the right. Secondly, they drive on the left hand side of the road. Third ... and most importantly ... the roads are about 12 inches wide and sheep have the right of way.

No one returns rental cars with rear view mirrors still attached. They are ripped off by the foliage along the sides of the roads.

I rolled down the windo…