Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do You Perform?

Sammy broke his hip this morning.

"The TV screen was lit up when I woke up at three in the morning," Sammy told me. "I went over to get the clicker (which was next to the TV set). I turned it off and I ... fell right on my ass."

I looked at Sammy as he lay in his ER bed, telling me the story. He looked so frail, so vulnerable, so scared ... I was really hit with the fact that he was 90 years old and won't have him around forever.

Just then a nurse came in and opened the computer terminal by his bed. "Sam ... I have some questions for you. First ... where do you live?"

"Menorah Manor ... nice place ... I love it. You know the other day there was a girl in my bed (uh oh ... here comes the old Sammy). She was ... naked ... so I said if I paid you ... would you get out of my bed?"  

There was nervous laughter from the nurse. I shook my head. As usual ... Sammy told a joke that he had totally screwed up and had no idea what the punchline really was. He had a big smile on his face.

The nurse tried to continue the questions for the chart. "Do you have any family history of medical problems ... like heart, stomache, etc.?"

Sammy looked at her confused.

"Sam," She continued. "Did your parents have any medical problems?"

"Yeah ... but it's too late now. They died."

She smiled ... "What did they die of?"

"I don't know ... heart attacks I guess. I have a question for you."

She stopped typing. "Okay."

"Do you perform?"

She was stunned. "Um ... perform?"

"Yeah. Are you doing my surgery?"

"Oh ... no ... I'm the nurse."

"Are you an LPN?"

"No I'm an RN."

"Do you have a certificate?"

"Even better ... I have a license."

"Good ... Then you can treat me."

It was a long day. The surgeon was operating all day and couldn't fit him in the schedule. Sammy was restless. He thought we would go out for sandwiches after he had surgery. I told him to be prepared for a long stay.

He frowned. Then when the ER nurse came in again he said ... "Excuse me honey. I'll take a room now."

Sam usually feels no pain ... literally ... no pain. He is amazing. He was in discomfort but really didn't complain much. The nurses were in shock.

They gave him pain meds anyway.

He was happy boy. Not a drinker, I have never seen Sammy high or drunk. He was singing, yelling, kissing Debbie, kissing me ... He asked the same questions over and over. "How am I doing? Did I have surgery? Why are you here?"\

He is resting comfortably now. Surgery is tomorrow and we will try to keep it light and upbeat. With Sammy, you never know who he will insult, kiss or ignore.

One thing I will guarantee ... he will make a new friend.


Saturday, January 28, 2012


This is Part 2 of the Mensa Invitational Contest (see Part OneBlame it on my GLIBIDO)


The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

Permission to Come Aboard ... Mayor?

Gasparilla is today.

It's the Tampa celebration of the legend of Jose Gaspar and his band of pirates as they "reenact" the invasion of Tampa and get the Key to the City from the Mayor. It's also a chance for the city fathers to dress as pirates, shoot guns (not real ones ... thank God), throw beads and get drunk (we need a day for that?). And a chance for their wives to dress as female pirates (who also resemble other "working girls"), throw beads and also get drunk.
I took this shot as the Pirate Ship landed at the Convention Center.

Here are some more Gasparilla shots:
Civilian Momberg munching on a hot dog as pirates surrounded the city.
One of the many signs of the Tampa Mensa Chapter's handiwork.
The clever balloon pirate fooling an unsuspecting captive as he fashions balloon handcuffs.
Don't know this pirate couple but suspect he is CEO of some downtown business and she runs a large advertising agency ... just a guess. They both might just be out on bail.
Two wenches who appear to be celebrating their 35th (or so) Gasparilla Day.
 Church group out for a stroll.
Boat flag with an important message for the assembled.
My personal favorite : Two fisted drinker ... at 10 AM.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Deb and I loved every minute! Beautiful day ... and lots of fun. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Blame it on my "Glibido"

Here's a funny for you. This was sent to me last week in an email.

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:
1. Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. 

5. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web

16. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On Sunday We ... ROCKED

If you haven’t seen Million Dollar Quartet … see it.

I should have said if you haven’t HEARD Million Dollar Quartet  … hear it! Both the music and the musicians are superb. The guy who played Jerry Lee Lewis was unbelievable.  They were all very good … but he was by far the best.

The theater was “Off-Broadway” … New World Stages ... the perfect venue … small and intimate with a kick ass sound system.

Oh, I almost forgot … there was a pre-show concert behind us. I thought it was part of the show because I've never heard anything like this in an audience before.  A lady in the very last seat of the back row went nuts.She screamed to her husband/partner/embarrassed seatmate.


Now, I have been known to exaggerate (Surprised, huh?). Truly … I have not done so here. She screamed ... screamed for a good 5 minutes until she finally shut up and sat down without another sound.

I think her husband snuffed her out. 


Today was shopping day.

For me, it took so long it was a like a lifetime. We stayed in Macy’s for a whole hour. To Debbie it was not enough time to even do a reconnaissance mission. I bought a coat. It was 75% off of whatever ridiculous price they said it was priced at … something like $5000. So I got a “real deal”.

Debbie “looked at” a pair of boots.

But ... the best part about today was our trip to Sam Ash to check out guitars, keyboards, music sheets, and other great stuff. There was a very cool Kurzweil piano all hooked up and ready to play.

I settled in and did a little Dr. John riff (my apologies to the Doctor). It was only a few minutes of some random chords when I heard a voice from the other keyboard rack say, “That was too short …  keep going …”

He was playing a swing rhythm that rocked.

We traded off for a few minutes … he was VERY good. I know he must’ve been a local musician at the very least. He had the grey ponytail thing going and was wearing a long cashmere coat so I assume he was not the starving kind. He was also buying out the store.

He reached over to shake my hand. In musician speak that means "You didn’t screw it up TOO badly".  

Who Needs Craig's List?

This morning the weather changed from cold to "freezing your butt off".

I took these pictures from the window of our hotel room. The left side was yesterday morning ... the right side was this morning.

Snow. Beautiful snow.

Until we went outside ... then it was just slush and ice and we were slipping and sliding down Times Square.

We met up with Alissa at a brunch place called Laconda Verde. Cool place ... we ordered palenta waffle, zucchini frittata, lemon curd pancakes ... it was delicious.

Looked for the owner, Robert De Niro, but he didn't show. Can you believe it?    

We visited a museum this afternoon that was really extraordinary. You can only see it in New York.

The Tenement Museum is located on Orchard Street in the heart of the old garment district. The last owner of this building kept it fairly close to what it was like over 100 years ago when immigrant families lived and worked there.

We took the Sweatshop Tour (the era of the Jewish garment workers).

Harry Levin and his family lived in a small two room apartment with his 6 kids and 4 boarders ... all working around a single sewing machine.

I was very interested in the Levin family for another reason ... that was my mother's maiden name. The guide showed us pictures of his son Max ... Looked just like my grandfather.

Who knows? This might be my inherited apartment!

With the rent that New Yorkers pay now ... it probably rents for $10,000 a week today.

If it IS mine ... I'll give it to Alissa.

She told me that it looked a lot roomier than her present apartment.

That reminds me ... It was embarrassing how she kept putting her clothes in the closet during the tour.

The cap she was wearing is actually 50 years old. She found it hanging on the wall right behind her.

By the way ... The gift shop is a classic. We loved it.

The books had titles like Born to Kvetsh, How to Train a Jewish Dog and Be a Mensch not a Schmuck.

I'd go back to this museum any time.

There were three more tracks that we didn't have time to see and a separate outdoor tour segment that was not offered today because of the weather.

We left the tour to get ready for the play we have tickets for ... Million Dollar Quartet (the story of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash). Can't wait!

Hey ... we just passed a billboard that Alissa must have posted ... I HAVE TO LOOK INTO THAT TENEMENT APARTMENT!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mona Lissssa

We are in New York visiting middle daughter Alissa.

It was pretty... pretty cold today.  So cold ... that after we took this picture, it took three people to put my arm down to my side. Later that afternoon, I put on mittens and a hat. I looked dorky and very warm.

By the way, Alissa works right on this block.

She took a break so that we could eat in a little Mediterranean restaurant. We dined on felafel and lamb and pita and hummus and other stuff that makes you want to belly dance. Fortunately for the other diners ... I resisted the urge.

While we were sitting there in the restaurant, I snapped this picture of Alissa

Take a look:
Pretty cool huh? Because of the uncanny resemblance, we now call her Mona Lissa. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sammy's Missing Ball

Sammy had a major problem today.

"One of my balls is gone." He said as he stepped out of the car and leaned on his walker outside of Bob Evans Restaurant.

"That's a real problem, Dad. Are you in pain?"

"What? No ... I lost my tennis ball. See?"

Sure enough ... Sam was one ball short on his walker which  kinda leaned to the right. But he seemed okay walking with it. Once in a while a spark or two would flash from the back leg on the sidewalk. But other than that ... he managed fine.

We saw a couple that we knew leaving the restaurant as we were putting our name on the list at the hostess station. We made the introductions.

Debbie ...  "Sammy, these are friends of ours, John and Donna ... and this is Sam ... Joel's Dad."

Sam ... "Nice to meet you. This is my son, Joel."

John ... (smiling) "We know Joel."

Sam ... "Yeah? I didn't know that. So ... what do you do?"

John ... "Well I'm a lawyer now ... I used to be in securities."

Sam ... "You like being a lawyer better than being a policeman?"

John ... "Oh ... well ... the securities I mean are like stocks and bonds. I used to sell those."

Sam ... "Are you making more money now?"

Just about that time, Sammy had a coughing attack and grabbed a few tissues to get rid of whatever came up (don't ask). He reached over and handed the tissues to Donna ... "Can you take this for me?"

Debbie swooped in to rescue Donna telling Sammy to drop them in his tissue box.

Thankfully, our table was ready. John and Donna were saved. We said our goodbyes and headed to our table. The waitress took Sammy's order. Because he said he was not too hungry he only ordered 3 eggs over easy, bacon, home fries, three pancakes and two biscuits.

In between mouthfuls, Sammy made conversation.

Sammy looked at Debbie's USF sweatshirt and said ... "Debbie ... 1956 ... that's incredible isn't it?"

Debbie pointed to the date ... "I know ... that's when the school was first started."

Sammy ... "What? I thought that's when you went to the school."

We both just shook our heads.

After breakfast we took Sammy back to The "Manor". He wanted me to come up and take a look at his headsets. On the elevator, he stopped one of his lady friends who was coming out.  He told her to show Debbie her knees. Why ... we never figured out ... but the elevator door kept hitting both of them as they tried to communicate with each other.

Once in his room, Sammy put on his massive headsets and told me to fix them.

"Joel ...  they are not working."

We switched on the button which was turned off and asked him if they were working now."

He just stared at the TV screen.

"Dad ... are they WORKING?"

"What?  I don't know Joel. I can't see it."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Water Water Everywhere

Does anybody really LIKE soft water?

My wife, Debbie, does. She claims lots of other people do. I've never met these people (other than her twin Dennie). If you live in a city that has it ... you probably don't have a choice.

We have a choice ... and guess which one we chose.

Why? Because apparently soft water is pretty close to miraculous. Soft water (which is treated to remove all natural minerals) is credited by the water treatment companies for making your clothes cleaner, extending the life of your plumbing and reducing the spots on your glasses.

Debbie also refills her holy water bottle with it ... so my guess is that she believes it will protect her from evil.

Truth is ... after you shower with it, you feel oily and slimy and need to take another shower. Plus the floor of the shower is so slick ... you could easily trip and kill yourself in it. It tastes bad too. Soft water is high in sodium ... so it tastes salty.

Speaking of sodium ... recent studies show that hard water is actually healthier for you. The natural minerals help reduce the effects of cardiovascular disease ... the sodium increases risk.

So ... help me out here. Now that soft water has now taken over our entire household ... oh ... wait a minute ... the pool and spa are still filled with hard water.

Hey ... Anybody know if soap is harmful to spa finishes?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Words With Friends

I have a new obsession: Words With Friends

Not so new .... more like 6 months of friendly competition with fellow scrabble nerds on my iphone locked in offensive and defensive letter arrangements.

Never heard of it?

Well ... Alec Baldwin helped make it a household name when he refused to stop playing on a flight a month or so ago.

I understand.

You just can't be distracted by trivial things like landing an airplane and protecting lives. This is much more critical. You cannot afford to lose concentration and forget that possible game winning word like qi or za or jo.

It could be a matter of life or death.

Today, there was a Words With Friends piece on CNN (the world's expert on important news matters). Beth from Michigan or Minnesota or Maryland ... one of those M states ... has been playing WWF for about a year with Georgie who lives in Australia. They developed a friendship through a "random" player game and became fast friends.

One day ... Simon (Georgie's hubby) was not feeling too well and Georgie was chatting about it while playing with Beth. Beth's hubby, a doctor, immediately diagnosed Simon with having a heart attack and told Georgie to get Simon to the ER immediately. Sure enough, Simon had 99% blockage and was close to death when his life was saved.

Now ... I'm not sure what symptoms Simon had when he was diagnosed. But apparently, Georgie was not aware of the seriousness of Simon's attack.

My guess was that she was right in the middle of forming a seven letter word as Simon slumped over the couch ... foaming at the mouth.

I try to tell Debbie the seriousness of this game but she still thinks that having a conversation or listening to some story about how her day was ... holds greater importance.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Who (Was) Dat?

It's been a couple of days and I'm just now coming out of a DEEP depression.

What happened to my football team? The unstoppable Tigers? Where was The Honey Badger?

I want LSU back ... who dat on the field?

In case you didn't see it, Jeremy Shelley kicked five field goals and Trent Richardson broke a 34-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter as No. 2 Alabama beat No. 1 LSU 21-0 on Monday night – the first shutout in BCS title game history. LSU didn't get past the 50 yard line until late in the fourth quarter.

Okay, thanks for listening to my rants  ... I needed to get that off my chest.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jake and Elwood Blues

"The Blues Brothers? Never heard of them."

That's what Madeline Snyder said. She's the talented medical student who put together an amazing talent show/fundraiser last night for USF's Morsani College of Medicine. She's in her 20s ... John Belushi died 30 years. So it's understandable she didn't know about them. (My kids know all about them ... but then again ... they had a traumatic childhood listening to Dad pound out obscure songs.)  

Dean Steve Klasko and I "performed" the Blues Brothers' Soul Man and I Don't Know. Apologies to Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi (who was probably rolling in his grave) for destroying whatever memories those over 40 had. 

I would have shown other pictures here ... but Debbie apparently filmed the entire show without once pressing the record button.

Colleen, Steve's wife, sent this shot. It was right before Steve did a cartwheel ... I think that's what you would call it. He took out the stage manager, sound system and Madelyn Snyder (all 98 pounds of her).

But he still managed to finish the show.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Five Rules to Remember in Life

Can't take credit for these ... but I subscribe to the message.

1. Money cannot buy happiness but it's more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

2. Forgive your enemies but remember the bastard's name.

3. Help someone when they are in trouble and they will remember you when they are in trouble again.

4. Many people are alive today only because it's illegal to shoot them.

5. Alcohol does not solve any problems ... but then again, neither does milk.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 6 ... The Looooooong Ride Home

It was just too perfect: Business Class, our hotel (a little small ... but so comfortable), the great food, the great company ... our New Years' Eve ...

It was bound to happen. And, of course, when it all fell apart ... it was old faithful: Delta Airlines.

This morning ... as we checked out of the hotel, we ran into an old friend of USF someone that I have recently gotten to know. Small world ... it was Cliff Gibbons, son of Sam (Gibbons, that is). He and his family were staying at the same hotel ... and ... they were flying stand-by on our flight (his wife works for Delta too).

We exchanged pleasantries and business cards and hurried into taxis to get to the airport.

A cold chill went down my back as I reached into my pocket to find that I was missing a very important item ... my passport. Debbie calmly said that we should unpack everything quickly and make sure it wasn't in one of my other pockets. She also gave me the evil eye and said ..."Hmmm. If I forgot MY passport, I'd never hear the end of it."

I grumbled a few quiet obscenities and proceeded to tear apart my suitcase. There it was ... my passport was nestled in my dress pants from the night before.

HA! It was going to be a good day after all.

Well ... not so fast. There were a few other problems. For one we were standing in the wrong line to check in. The real line was about 3 miles in the other direction. We hauled it down the other end when Debbie stopped suddenly as she looked at her IPad in horror.

"We are not going to get on the flight to New York."

"Sure we are," I said confidently. "We have another hour and a half until we board."

"It's not the time. It's the space."


"There were 4 people who came in just this morning at a higher stand-by priority code. They took our seats."

Down ... but not beaten, Debbie checked connections through other cities like Detroit, Tokyo, Juneau, Fargo ... as we finally got in the right line ... And there ... in front of us ... smiling and waving ... was Cliff and the Gibbons family of ... FOUR.

"They are the ones who took our seats." Debbie said without moving her lips and smiled and waved.

"I'm sure they didn't realize it ... just our dumb luck." I said softly.

But ... no worries. Debbie found a better flight. Cincinnati had lots of empty Business Class seats. We got through the security, and customs lines and headed to the Cincinnati terminal and ... guess what?

WE MADE IT! Business Class again. The same seats as the flight over. We were ecstatic until we found out that the flight was going to take 9 hours instead of the original 7 it took on the way over.

Headwinds or something.

It's okay ... we connect to Detroit and still have an hour to get to the gate.

So ... we drift off to the world of comfort.

Our story doesn't end here my friends.

You see, the flight took 10 and a half hours instead of 9. The Detroit flight was long gone. When we got to the Cincinnati Airport to recheck our bags ... they disappeared into a Delta black hole somewhere to reappear (if we are lucky) in Tampa in the next few years or so.

Okay ... only one thing to do. Get a new connection. We checked the Delta desk.

"There's a flight to Atlanta leaving in the next 15 minutes ... you can make it ... it's right around the corner."  The ticket counter lady said.

We hustled over to find NO ONE at the gate. There was only one Delta lady with a walkie talkie. We grabbed her. "Excuse us. Do you know if the flight is gone? There are 15 minutes left to takeoff."

"Hmmm. I don't know." She said.

"Well ... can you maybe call someone or knock on the door or something?" I asked. (What the hell does she use the walkie talkie for?)

"Oh I think she's doing bags."

"I don't know what that means. Is she still there?"


Suddenly, the Delta bag lady came through the doorway. She looked at us as we ran up to her with our standby papers.

"Oh ... late are we?" She said.

POLITELY I said ... "Delta was late. We are on time."

She kind of chuckled ... the kind of chuckle that says: "Right bucko ... you are lucky I am nice enough to let you fly with us."

We rushed in with our slips as the passengers sighed and rolled their eyes ... I thought ... "What is it with you guys ... you are 15 minutes ahead of schedule?"

We finally found the last two seats in the back and looked out the window to see ... The jet engine!

"I don't care ... really ... it's okay." I told Debbie. "At least we are on and now we can go home."

Debbie looked at me and shook her head.

"Well ... there is another problem."

Oh no.

"The only other flight out of Atlanta to Tampa is oversold and it left 10 minutes ago."

I am writing this from my bed at the Doubletree near the Atlanta Airport. I may be home tomorrow. If anyone from my office is reading this ... See you real soon.

Footnote: One other observation we made as we waited for the airport hotel shuttle to pick us up. THEY LIE. They never pick up when they say they will ... and none of the hotels listed on the courtesy shuttle board even come there.

BUT ... It's a new year ... and ... We DID get a Doubletree chocolate chip cookie when we checked in.

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...