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Showing posts from May, 2012

Spaghetti or Not ... Here I come!

You'd think that ordering meatballs and spaghetti would be a fairly simple task ...  well ... not if the one doing the ordering is my dad, Sam.  Of course, nothing is simple if you are Sammy.

Yesterday, Sammy called me: "Joel, will you come over tomorrow?"

Me: "Sure Dad. What's up?"

Sam: "I haven't eaten in days. The food here is terrible. I really need new food."

Me: "Okay, what do you want to eat?"

Sam: "Anything. What time are you coming?"

Me: "How about lunchtime?"

Sam: "So what time?"

Me: "Is lunchtime okay?"

Sam: "You want to come for breakfast?"

Me: "Breakfast would be okay. How early?"

Sam: "Lunch would be better."

Me: "So ... lunchtime?"

Sam: "How about lunchtime?"


Today at 11:00, I placed the call and got his voicem…

House guests

Check it out.

These are our new house guests ...  hanging in the MAN CAVE.

First let me introduce: George, John, Paul and Ringo. Artist David O'Keefe was the guy who "introduced us" ... in Orlando.

Then there's Dirty Harry.

Clint never looked better ... right? He really "MADE MY DAY."

Finally ... Marilyn. What else is there to say?

All now reside at our house ... Thanks Mr. O'Keefe. You are a genius,

Universally Accepted

Gotta tell ya ... Universal's a pretty cool place.

Couldn't believe it. There were no lines, the weather was hot but not miserable, the guys in tank tops and tattoos didn't beat their kids, and from what English I could understand ... no one dropped the "f" bomb with the 5 year olds around.

It was a good day.

Men In Black was awesome. That's me killing 100,000 aliens and Deadeye Deb next to me killing 100,000 passengers.

The ride only took about 20 minutes .... the trip to the locker for purses was a little longer. Debbie blamed it on the maintenance guy who told her they were having trouble with the equipment but the 300 people behind her told me a different story.

We saw the Blues Brothers and a bone rattling singer who did a mean Aretha imitation. The sax player was great too.

I met lots of new friends.

There was Lucy ... who shared her Vitameatavegamin.

And Marilyn ... who sang Happy Birthday to me (although she called me Mr. President alot ...)

And the …

The Adventure Begins

Today we traveled to The Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios.

Debbie kept saying she didn't want to go there and get wet ... and she refused to wear a bathing suit. I reassured her that it wasn't Adventure Island at Busch Gardens ... different Park.

She was okay until she saw a big picture of one of her ex-boyfriends (left) some Pecker named Woody.

She carried two stuffed toys (Despicable Me's) that we won at the squirt gun game in the arcade area. Actually, she won them ... one by a long shot and the other I barely beat her with help from one of the carnies.

I found a new girlfriend in the Comic Land ... or whatever the name of that land was ...

Betty Boop.

She talked funny and her lipstick didn't cover her whole lips but she was kinda cute. (A little old fashioned for my taste but she was sweet).

Harry Potter has a whole land to himself. Of course we had to visit even though we were the only people on earth to have never seen a movie or read a book about the l…

You CAN Go Back Just Don't Look Too Close

Visited my hometown of New Orleans yesterday.

We ate in my favorite restaurant Antoine's (a celebration with friends Luis, Cindy, Fred, Kay and Judy). Then we ate again in my new favorite restaurant Ralph's on the Park and then ate ONCE MORE at Morning Call for coffee and donuts (non natives say cafe au lait and beignets).

Stomach full, I took Debbie down memory lane (she is SO patient).  As you will see in the photos, I numbered the "high points".

I'm sure you will scan these quickly ... I would if I were you.

Enjoy ...

1. This is Rendon Inn. Well, it used to be. It was our local market and sandwich shop. I lived down the street from here growing up. We hung out at the front door when we were about 10, pretending to smoke cigarettes.

There was a pinball machine in the sandwich shop. We'd get roast beef poboys, fries and a Barq's then spend the day playing pinball. By the way ... in those days, you could win money on pinball machines.    

2. This was ou…

Atlanta Alumni Trip

Just got back from Atlanta.

We had a great event for USF ... Judy Genshaft (USF President) and I hosted more than 120 alumni at the High Museum. Lots of positive vibes from the crowd and great follow up meetings the next day. 

Dinner had a little wine mishap. but I am getting ahead of myself ...

The flight to Atlanta was fairly uneventful (after I found out that I left my phone in the car and ran back before take off). It actually took less than an hour. The train ride to the rental car building took about 20 minutes and the Avis agent took about three days to get our reserved car.

Okay ... slight exaggeration ... 2 days. Actually she was the manager and was trying to be helpful ... but she couldn't figure out the computer program. Three different agents had to help out. Finally she got the Garmin GPS for us and SHE preprogrammed herself. I should have seen this coming. It never worked the entire trip. All it did was track simulation routes to Brazil.

This was trouble.

Judy was my n…


I thought about Bill Ratliff today.

Before he retired a few years ago, Bill Ratliff was the consummate anchorman. He had the anchorman voice, the anchorman clothes, the anchorman look ...  but don't be fooled ... he was no Ron Burgundy.

Bill was much more.

I met him 30 years ago when we partnered with Channel 8 and joined the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. Bill and I traveled to Salt Lake City to meet with the folks who put the national show together.

We went to workshops and learned about everything from telethon production to volunteer management. Bill sat in talent sessions to hear from other local anchors about interview techniques. He was patient and professional. I'm sure he knew everything they taught but pretended he heard it for the first time.

It wasn't all work.  

One morning after a night of drinking a wee bit too much, Bill and I went to eat breakfast in the hotel bar. We squeezed into the bar stools that were placed tightly against the bar and loud…

Dream Big When You're Small ... Dream Small When You're Big

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a rock star. I dreamed of playing to packed houses, girls falling at my feet, parties all the time ... I'd sing like Elvis, play like Jerry Lee and spend money like it was going out of style. 
Debbie wanted to be a June Taylor dancer.

Ahhh ... those were the days. The days before real life hit and the realization that jobs required work ... fame was a relative term (none of my relatives had it).

So .. you work for 30 years, raise a few kids, get older and find other dreams that usually have to do with money, like ... how to make more.

Ten more years fly by and so does the money. Finally .... you hit the age when your kids are grown, you slow down some and you can get back to dreaming about what's next.

Today ... Debbie and I talked about what we REALLY want to do (this week):

I want to be a zookeeper and she wants to drive a beer cart at golf tournament at Innisbrook.

Fatty Fatty 2 by 4 ...

Who is the fat guy in all those pictures that people send me with my face on them?

What???  Me???  FAT???

Wait a minute ... I may be getting a little thick around the middle  ... and Debbie might talk about my belly (kinda cute) ... and I may have put on about 10 (or 30) pounds or so ...

Okay, I admit it.

I am officially fat ... again.

That's the first step to good health (or that's what I'm told). Tell yourself you are really fat and unhealthy and then fix it with exercise and diet. Simple formula ... just do it.

I KNOW that was said by a skinny person. Fat people say ... "Maybe I won't super size my Big Mac and fries ... and I'll rinse it down with a big diet coke!" Oh sure ... there's the occasional Tony Little (former fat guy turned exrecise guru) or Richard Simmons (who is unhealthy at any weight) or Jared the Subway guy (another party animal) ...

 ... but there's also Oprah.

I can relate to Oprah. I have a permanent yo yo attached to my …