Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back Home

Flew back yesterday. Everyone sent some extra pictures.  We call these lagniappe:

Let the good times roll!

Monday, December 29, 2014

NOLA Day 3

We caught the Harrahs limo at 9:45 headed to Ralph's on the Park for Sunday brunch.

Located in City Park, Ralph's is owned by Ralph Brennan and has tasty items like shrimp and grits, Crab Benedict and "endless" mimosas.  Cole ate his hand and a few dozen spoons (all of which wound up on the floor). 

Then it was off to the French Quarter and a tourist stop at Pat OBriens, the premier piano bar, patio and Hurricane purveyor. It was like a flashback for me. Most of the waiters have been there for 40 or 50 years. Joe, our waiter was there for 47. He remembered serving me when I was probably 14 (the age that you can start drinking in New Orleans).

I walked with Nikki back to the hotel so she could get packed to leave that afternoon. About a half hour later, Debbie called to ask me to come back to Pat O. Our group was dancing on tables, singing loudly and ... Yes ... drinking.

We met lots of new friends. My favorite family wore tee shirts that were numbered Drunk 1, Drunk 2 ... Grandma was 80 and was Drunk 6. 

Nate met a pirate in the bathroom. He apparently stood a little too close at the "trough" and held a conversation. Creepy (note to female readers: guys don't like to hold long conversations with other guys while relieving ourselves). Got this picture of the pirate when we left. 

We headed back to the casino after that and ate poboys at Grand Isle, gambled until midnight ... What else is new. 

By the way, caught this great shot of Cole and the sisters in the limo. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

NOLA Day 2

Someone once said ... "All you do in New Orleans is eat and drink".  That's pretty much the case for us. The weather still was miserable yesterday so we had to drown our sorrows with beignets, shrimp poboys, gumbo, bloody Mary's, dirty martinis and ... And ... More food.

Started at Cafe du Monde (in Riverwalk) continued at ACME oyster and ended at Landrys. In between, we drank coffee, beer, liquor ... And some other liquids that no one could identify.

The baby was a trooper. Pretty much dragged through the sloshy streets of NO , he still managed to pose and smile at Landrys.

Alissa was happy on her golden Godess machine at Harrahs.

Forgot to mention that when we landed at the airport, I was told that the cars were oversold and that cars we reserved were unavailable. 

So ... Stranded downtown without transportation, we are (now at least) wet but happy in our little corner of the world 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

NOLA bound

We landed in New Orleans yesterday at 2:30. Josh, Alissa, Nate and Theresa flew with Deb and me from Tampa. It's been raining ever since.

Nikki, baby Cole and Steven flew from Savannah. They were delayed because TSA searched Cole's 5 suitcases and scanned his drinking bottles for illegal substances and baby weapons apparently. 

They arrived a few hours before us. 

We ate at NOLAs on St. Louis St in the Quarter. One of Emiril's restaurants, still one of my favs. 

After that ... We headed for Harrahs for a night of gambling, dancing and drinking. Deb and I lasted til midnight. The kids stayed a little longer. 

Alissa won the Dance Fever award. I promised not to show the video but if you want a visual ... imagine Elaine from Seinfeld drinking four margaritas and waving her arms wildly. She was feeling no pain this morning. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Can See !!!

I know it's silly to dedicate a whole blog post to the fact that I got my eyes checked and refitted for glasses but it's the little things that excite me. 

Because thanks to my nephew, Mike Levitt, Ophthalmologist to the stars (and me), I can see again. Ever since my surgery, my vision had changed dramatically but I didn't really notice it until recently. There were clues ... People waved to me from across a room and I didn't know who the hell they were, I knew there were letters on street signs but I didn't speak Chinese, I walked into things a lot (okay ... So maybe that's not because of the glasses). 

But now it's crystal clear ... so for all those people over the last year that waved to me or smiled at me and saw just my blank stare and thought "he's pretty rude" ... I'm so sorry. Now ... I will see you!

Of course I still might not know who the hell you are. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Old Age

Man do I feel old today. 

I heard from a former student of mine who I taught in 1978. He's not the first student I've heard from over the years. With the advent of Facebook, I get friended now and then by former students who have kids, grey hair, some have faces I can't quite remember ... Many still call me Mr. Momberg. 

But today was a little different. The student who wrote to me today ... Just retired!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My mother in law, Joanne Gallagher passed away on Saturday. She was battling the effects ovarian cancer and congestive heart disease. She was and will always be a very special lady.

One of my favorite stories about Joanne was one that I wrote and have reposted today. It was published when she first was hospitalized:

Jewels from Joanne

(originally posted January 2, 2011)

Joanne is my mother in law.

She has a very strong faith and has great courage in the face of adversity. She also has given birth to seven children that she knows of ... including the twins, Debbie and Dennie. Immaculate conception aside ... Joanne apparently knew more about sex than her children give her credit for ... or not. Certainly, married to Larry, she needed a manual to understand the mechanics (I think even she probably admits that she should have taken a test drive first).

Joanne also has an interesting vocabulary all her own. While she has been in the hospital, she has shared some of her "Jewels" :

1. Cuomo....  No this is not the former mayor of New York. Mario was certainly not in her thoughts when Joanne asked "When do I start the Cuomo treatments?"

2. High Wig ... This is an interesting term that is probably a cross between a highbrow and a bigwig. Joanne was referring to some of the influence she felt that my brother in law Mark and I had in the medical community when we set her up with some of the specialists that are now treating her. She told daughter Keli that " Joel and Mark are certainly High Wigs in the community!"

3. Ice Packages ... A reference to frozen plasma. As Joanne said to the nurse, "Are you giving me more ice packages this morning?"

4. Passing Gas ... Actually, Joanne got this one right. One afternoon, she was taking a breathing treatment as the sisters were relating embarrassing stories. The subject of gas passing came up (as it always does when embarrassing stories are told). All of a sudden Joanne interrupted us with a story of her own.

"You know," she said without turning her head from the breathing tube. "I once passed gas when I was taking communion."

There was dead silence. None of us could believe what she just said.

"So ... Joanne," I finally had to speak up. "What did you do?"

"Well, I looked at Larry and I said .... 'Was that you, dear?'"

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sundays With Cole

Nikki and Steven spent the weekend with us. Before they left, I had a few minutes alone reading the Sunday paper with Cole. 

I showed him pictures of cars, buildings, trees ... All he cared about was the obituary page. 

Yes ... He sees dead people. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


It's that day that we give thanks and I have so much to be thankful for this year:

The Big Balls in the dining room. The objects of Debbie's last interior design foray prior to the viral redo of our bedroom ... surprisingly ... she has kept them for a whole year without changing them out.

Bicycles. On our walk today we were passed on the sidewalk by about 10 cyclists (ON YOUR LEFT ... ON YOUR LEFT ...). I'm thankful there were just 10. I'd be much more thankful if they USED THE BIKE LANES IN THE STREET.

Dr. Van Loveren. He was the neurosurgeon who fixed my brain this year. I think that's his name. Isn't it? Wait a minute ... I seemed to have forgotten MY name. Where am I?

What was I just talking about?

Sammy. I am thankful for Sammy because ... well ... because he's .... um ... I know there was something ... oh yeah ... because he is still with us and continues to give me great material for my blog.

My kids.  I am so thankful to have such great kids Nikki, Alissa and Josh and recent additions: Steven, Ned (oops I mean Nate) and Theresa. They are bright, successful, kind and best of all ... OFF THE PAYROLL!

My wife Debbie. What can I say? She helped me through one of the most difficult years of my life. She cooks, cleans, works, nurses and even decorates. I take out the trash ... occasionally. I am so thankful that she keeps me around.

(I'm really tired of doing everything.)

CNN This is one I added to the list because of their recent coverage of the Ferguson riots. I especially love the way the reporters stayed in the street complaining about the tear gas that the police threw into the crowd. as they coughed and teared up and stood there while rocks were thrown at their heads. One guy even talked through his gas mask (couldn't understand one thing he said). I can only hope for an SNL spoof this weekend.

There are so many things to be thankful for: My great job and the people that I work with and work for, my new closet (that's really Debbie's old closet), my extended family, my friends ...


And of course you, my faithful readers (all 3 of you) who read this blog and still manage to keep your food down.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sammy's Big Day Out

He's not cute.

But I guess if you live to 93, unless you are a convicted felon, you are allowed to be cranky, critical and demanding and not only will you be forgiven ... women will actually think you are adorable.

Today, I picked up Sammy to take him on a drive. He wanted to go to the beach.

When you pack up a 93 year old, it's kind of like packing up an infant. The biggest difference is that his stroller is a 100 pound wheelchair and his diapers are a little bigger. Throw in a box of kleenex, a few towels, and protective plastic covers for the front seat and you are ready to roll.

"You know ... I love the outdoors, the fresh air is great." Sam said as we drove away.

I opened the windows. "Does that feel good?"

"No. I'm too cold."

I closed the windows.

"What did you do that for?"

"You said you were cold."

"Whatever Joel." He scowled as he looks out the window.

"The beach is right up there. You want to sit in the park across from the water?"

"Sure ... whatever you think."

"Well, it's not what I think ... what do you want to do? I thought you wanted to sit outdoors."

"I do. I do."

So ... I pulled into the parking lot, unloaded the wheelchair and opened it up. I adjusted the seat and the towel that covered up something that I couldn't describe but knew that the towel was a necessity.
I rolled it to Sammy's door, locked the wheels and unbuckled his seatbelt. It was the exact process that I did in reverse when I put him IN the car.

"Where are we going?"

"Over there (pointing to the bench). Where you wanted to go."

"I don't want to get out. I'm fine here."

"I thought ..."

He closed the door on me.

Hmmm. I loaded everything up and started the car.

"Okay. So where do you want to go now?"

"You ever heard of Sonic? S O N I C?"

"Yes ... there aren't any close by. What do you want at Sonic?"

"I like their freezes."


"Yeah ... or milk shakes ... or something like that."

"Is it made with ice cream?"


"There's a Mc Donald's right up here. How about I get you a milk shake from there?"

"Are they as good as Sonic?"

"I would think they were pretty much the same. Hard to screw up a milk shake."


We pulled into the drive thru and I approached the speaker ...

"Wait ..." he said. "Are we going in?"

"No. We are in the drive thru."

He looked down in his lap.

The woman on the loud speaker said, "Can I take your order."

I said, "Um ... just a minute. (to Sam) Do you want to go inside?"


"Okay ... what flavor do you want?"


I talked to the woman. "Small chocolate milk shake."

"No ..." Sammy said. "I want a freeze."

"Dad," I said. "There isn't any ice cream in the other drink. Is that what you want? I think they have Strawberry? or Orange?"

"No ... chocolate."

The woman answered. "We ain't got chocolate freezes."

I said, "I know ... wait just a minute."

Sammy ... "Okay, I'll do vanilla and chocolate."

The woman on the speaker ... "You want vanilla and chocolate milkshake?"

"I don't know," he said.

I was pretty close to shoving him out of the car and driving over him at this point.

"Yes! Yes!" I said. "That's fine."

Sam said as we drove to the second window, "Think this is as good as Sonic?"

I said ... "Have you ever been to Sonic?"

"No. But it looked good on TV."

True story!

He ate three bites and put it down for the rest of the trip. I pulled out the wheelchair ... etc. and rolled him up to his room.

"That was a great trip," He said. "I had a great time."

It's just like having a child again. Just when you think you're gonna kill therm and you can't take it any more, they tell you something nice.

The big difference is that they are MUCH CUTER!      


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Hero

Saw a great movie this past weekend.

Bill Murray is "St." Vincent ... a sloppy, disgruntled, nasty curmudgeon who lays around on a lawn chair, smokes too much, gambles too much and has a Russian hooker as a girlfriend.

Yes ... he is my new hero. 

Truth is, I always liked Bill Murray and related to all his characters ... even his sleazy nightclub singer, Caddyshack groundskeeper and Todd DiLaMuca (Lisa Loopner's boyfriend) on SNL. 

But as St. Vincent he has touched a special place in my heart. 

I think us guys are all Vincent at heart. When we hit our sixties, our innermost thoughts change from being cool to sitting around in our underwear, bitching about politics or sports or women and in general not really caring about much of anything related to appropriate behavior. We'd all be happy smoking and drinking and gambling (if we weren't afraid of immediately dropping dead). 

Women are different. As they age, young "wild" women become clones of Mother Theresa. The wilder they were as kids the holier they are as older women. 

There are exceptions of course. My buddy Mike was born a curmudgeon and can't wait until he's sixty to sit on the street in his underwear. My wife Debbie was born as Mother Theresa and continues that path today ... Never missing a mass no matter what part of the world she's in. 

I keep my St. Vincent tendencies  in check most days although lately I find it harder to sit in meetings where the discussions drift to where a comma belongs in an invitation or whose responsibility it is to fix the thermostat. 

But I dream of the day that St. Vincent appears. My lawn chair awaits. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gerber Baby


My grandson, Cole,  is in the Gerber Baby Contest and he needs your help!

You can cast your vote for the cutest ... fattest ... most adorable baby on the planet and you can vote often!

Heres how to do it ...

1. Click the link https://photosearch.gerber.com/

2. Click the big "vote now" blue button

3. Enter YOUR date of birth

4. Enter your email twice

5. Then agree to the "official rules"

6. Search for Cole Benjamin in Savannah, Georgia

7. Then this adorable picture will pop up

8. You can vote once a day for the next month!

My father thanks you, my daughter thanks you, her mother thanks you, her step mother thanks you ... and I thank you.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Closet Love

Okay, I'll give credit where credit is due.

I love my closet.

I never thought in a million years I would say that sentence ... especially during our construction period (which lasted a little over 52 years) ... but there you have it. Yes, Debbie was right (oh how that hurts to say out loud).

There is now enough room for my stuff. All my tee shirts are stacked, my ties all have hooks, my shoes have homes ... all is put away.

Thank you honey.

Only one question ... what the heck is that thing that Michael (who created the big balls in the dining room) put next to my bed?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's a New Day!

This morning, I decided I was ready for a change.

My head hurt. I was feeling out of sorts. I turned on my phone and after getting through one move of Words With Friends, I wanted to go back to sleep. How could I still be tired after sleeping all night?

Last night we had dinner with one of my heroes, Les Muma who got rid of all his unhealthy habits  in his thirties and is the most focused, committed man I have ever met.

Today's the day I do it. I'm ready for my new life. I started making mental notes:

Step one. Put on a pair of shorts and sneakers. Make the two mile walk downtown. It's a great start for a daily exercise program. I will make this a ritual every morning or evening and in few months it will escalate into daily workouts in the gym.

Before you know it, I will look like the stud on the left ... or his husband.

Step two. Eat a healthy breakfast at one of the cafes along the water. Fruit and nuts kinda food. No potatoes, eggs, bacon ... anything that tastes good. Apparently, from everything I've read, if it becomes part of your lifestyle ... you won't miss it.

Step three. No drinking, smoking or gambling. Too much drinking puts on lbs and makes you lazy and stupid. Smoking is bad on all fronts and gambling ... well I don't know ... I just put this in so Debbie will be happy. Bottom line is stay away from smoky places like bars and casinos.

I made a list of healthy options for afternoon activities like writing my book, going to a movie or taking a drive.

I can do this!

Then again ... there's always tomorrow.

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...