Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Few Days in DC

Had a meeting in Washington, DC last week.

On the flight over,  I was so excited that ... even though it was a full flight ... I had an empty middle seat right next to me. The door was locked and the flight instructions were started. No 600 pound passengers left without a seat. My seat mate who sat by the window and I gloated a little because all the other seats were filled.

I spoke too soon.

Two 6 year old kids were shepherded to our row by the flight attendant. One of them held an animal carrier with the name "Stella" written on tape stuck to the lid.

(Please God ... please don't give me the animal kid). "Here you go there's an empty seat." She helped the skinny kid squeeze into the middle seat.  "... and your animal can sit right by your feet". (DAMN!)

Stella could be a cat or a mouse or a snake or a scorpion.  Who knows? This kid was the antsiest kid I've ever seen. He could not sit still in his seat and kept picking up that stupid carrier, sticking his fingers in the holes while Stella scratched on the inside.  LONGEST flight of my life.

Landed safely and practically ran out of the airport.

That night, daughter Alissa and husband Nate picked me up for a Nats game. Ultimately we had to take a taxi because the metro got so backed up. Cabbie spoke a language that none of us was familiar with. He was apparently unfamiliar with everything else.

"You go to stadium?" He asked as he fiddled with his navigation system. "Can't seem to find it. You know where?"

"It's just a few miles straight ahead." Nate said.

"Hmmmm ..."

"It's pretty big." I said.

Miraculously he found it and we got there by the second inning.

I bought some Nats gear. I needed a comfy tee shirt in the heat. (although I did feel like a Rays traitor ...). We had a great time.

"Ubered" it back to the hotel. First time for me and now I'm a convert.

What a great system.

They come in just a few minutes, you can watch where they are on your phone, they speak English, they charge your account and the cars are clean.

No wonder cabbies are nervous.


Meetings all day on Wednesday and then dinner with the kids at a cool place named Sequoia across the water from The Watergate.

For those too young to know or too old to remember, Watergate was the home of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters and subsequent break-in by Nixon campaign burglars. Later, the name was used to describe the scandal and all the dirty tricks that happened during the campaign. Remember when we were all glued to the TV sets watching the trials?  

Oh well ...

Dinner was superb ... oysters, scotch, heaven.

Next day was a half day of meetings and then off to the airport for the flight home.

Alissa had a little surprise for me. Because she and Nate are moving back to Florida (yes!) ... there was an extra bag waiting for me at the bell station. She asked if I minded taking some things home so it would lighten their load.

Little did I know that the bag would cost me $356 and take up most of the plane.

Okay, I exaggerated. It only cost me $326. But it's all good. There were no animals on the way home and I found 4 people to help me load Alissa's bag in the trunk.


BUY HOME MOVIES TODAY by your favorite author ... ME!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Trump Makes A Startling Announcement

New York, July19 ---- Donald Trump made a startling announcement today. Rarely does a candidate choose a running mate so early in a campaign but Trump decided to "Trump" the others by announcing his running mate.

"I have carefully thought this out," Trump told an audience of 3000 gathered outside of the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Manhattan."And I've decided that the best candidate for the next Vice President of the United States is ... MY HAIR."

Trump went on to say that the reasons he picked his hair were because it has been with him through thick and thin, it has weathered every storm along side of him ... never changing its position (unlike Trump) and even though it has been criticized much more than anything that Trump has been connected with it has maintained a stiff resolve.

John McCain tweeted during the press conference "Looking at Trump's hair was far worse than any torture I endured as a prisoner of war #goldilocks" ... to which Trump answered with "My hair is my power, old man #samsonhead".

Unfortunately, during the announcement, The Donald's hair unexpectedly moved when a gust of air caught his golden locks.

Never one to let an embarrassing situation render him speechless, Mr. Trump countered, "I have just learned that my hair has changed positions and will not run on my ticket so I have decided that MY MOUTH would be a better choice."  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sam and Esther's Final Trip Home

This past weekend "family" trip to New Orleans was a far different one than any before. Brought my mom and dad home for the last time. Esther died five years ago and Sammy died just a few months ago.

This would be the "Sam and Esther Final Trip Tour". We picked out their favorite places for the final visits with Sammy (in blue) and Esther (in white).

The first picture was actually taken on the final leg of the trip. They are sitting on the levee steps at the Lakefront, one of the most prestigious areas to live in New Orleans. They couldn't afford to live there when they were alive. Now they can hang out here forever.

But I'm getting way ahead of myself. Let's start with the first stop. Le Madeleine's is a little restaurant that was one of their favorite places to eat breakfast and lunch. We set them at the table with coffee and quiche. One of the wait staff came over to the table and asked about the urns.

"My mom and dad loved this place," I said. "Just wanted them to visit one last time."

"What were their names?"

I told them and showed him their pictures.

"I remember them," he said. He took the pictures over to the other staff members and yelled back to us. "Hey they remember your dad. He loved to order half a chicken right?"

"Right". I said. "And he loved the soup ... always hot."

The staff sent over a bowl of tomato soup and a Caesar salad for Esther. They loved the idea that we would do this for them. It had been 10 years since they had been in New Orleans and they still remembered Sammy ordering chicken.

How about that?    

The next stop was Morning Call.

It's only a block away from Le Madeleine and is the coffee and donut place (beignets for you non-residents) that has been a staple for us y'ats who grew up here for many years.

Sammy read his paper and met his friends for coffee all the time.

The original was down the street from Cafe du Monde in The French Quarter. Actually, The tourists went to Cafe du Monde and we went to Morning Call.

It was open all night ... after a night in the French Quarter or party, that's where we would all wind up.

They reassembled the whole place in Metairie.

Across the street was Lakeside Shopping Center, Esther's favorite place to shop. Debbie took a few minutes with Esther in the center of the mall to get fashion tips.

Esther, you may remember, was a notorious shopper. She loved her shoes so much that she used every closet in the house to house them. But it wasn't only her shoes that had royal treatment. She had a closet built just for her clothes, her jewelry (mostly costume) and makeup ... it was like a mini department store inside.

A lot of the places that she used to frequent are gone ... but I know she was smiling down at her brief visit to Lakeside this weekend.

Their home was just a few blocks away on Melody Dr.

The owners weren't home but we met the neighbors (actually knocked on their door first).
They told us that the house has been kept exactly like it was. The closet is even still intact. Most of Esther's clothes stayed with the house when we sold it to this couple ten years ago. They lost everything in the storm and luckily she wore the same size as Esther.

She was thrilled!

We took their picture in the little outside garden that Esther was so proud of. She won awards for it years ago. (No one ever knew that she put plastic plants in the beds ... TRUE story).

I took Sammy bowling on Williams Avenue.

I'm not sure if he ever bowled there ... but the bowling alleys that he and his buddies used are long gone. Most of them were uptown before they moved to Metairie.

But this one was close to the Treasure Chest Casino where I KNOW they hung out a lot.

Speaking of the Casino ...

I set Esther up at a $5 machine at the Treasure Chest (the only casino in Metairie) and got her an ash tray for the cigarettes that she claimed she never smoked.

Sammy was in the other part of the casino playing the penny slots.

Not a big gambler, sometimes he'd put a few dollars in a machine but most of the time he held Esther's purse and watched her feed hundred dollar bills into the high limit machines.

Okay ... maybe there is something about genetics and the Momberg family.

Esther graduated from Newcomb College (which was the women's college at Tulane). No longer there ... we placed her at the foot of the Tulane Campus directional sign instead.

She was still a teenager when she graduated and did so with honors.

Well ... that brings us back to the Lakefront.

As mentioned, it was our last stop and the final resting place for Sam and Esther. The clouds rolled in just as they rolled out.

A few rumbles in the sky seemed so appropriate for them. Their lives like all lives had their share of rumblings, a few dark clouds but silver linings and lots of laughs along the way.

Rest in peace, Sam and Esther. Glad you're back home.  



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Atlantic City ... Yo .. Happy Fort of Jooly!

We flew on Spirit Airlines to Atlantic City on Friday for the holidays.

Have you ever flown Spirit? Don't bother ... you haven't missed anything. Spirit prides itself on having the cheapest fares. Maybe they do if you don't count the fact that you pay for checking your bag, more if you carry your bag, and you pay for coke, snacks, peanuts and even water.

The only thing you don't have to pay for is the song that one of the flight attendants sang for the flight instructions. I would have paid just to shut him up. (There was also a 15 minute ad that he did for Master Card during the landing. Arrrggghhh!)

Oh well ... landed at the airport and went to Harrahs, where our room awaited. The casinos in AC are scattered in two sections of town. In our section of town, Harrahs was across the street from Golden Nugget and a block away from The Borgata ... the upscale casino hotel. Even though they are next to each other you still have to take a taxi across the interstate.  

 The room we got must have been constructed during a down year when all they had for materials were cardboard and glue. There was a kid next door that cried, talked and sang for 8 straight hours Friday night. I didn't witness that personally, because I was downstairs researching the gaming areas. But, Debbie got security, and called downstairs and presto! We had a new room the next day ... with REAL walls and everything.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the buffet and then took a cab to the famous Boardwalk. Debbie was so excited to show it to me. She had visited it with her family back in the day when she was a youngster. I think she told me that she rode a horse that dove off a platform or something like that. She also carefully explained how the Boardwalk got its name. "You see. these boards?" She asked me and pointed to the ground."These are what we walk on ... Board ... Walk!"

How clever!


And the people who walked along with us were very interesting as well. Lots of tattoos, gold chains, medallions, sunglasses, wife beaters, slicked back hair (and that was just the women).

Most of the shops either sold Salt Water Taffy or advertised Full Body Massage. I'm not sure how they are related but Deb clearly had a preference for taffy and told me I did too.

Caesars and Ballys were on the pier so I had to continue my quest for research in those two establishments as Debbie walked ahead to shop for bargains and lots of taffy. I had continued success and Debbie found "stuff".

Caesars was a very nice hotel and had one of the nicest Diamond Club Lounges that I ever have been to. The food and atmosphere rivaled anything in Vegas. Diamond by the way, represents your player level based on how much you gamble. Thank heavens, Debbie is such a prolific player.



There was also a giant bottle of wine in the lobby of Caesars. I ultimately had to pry Debbie away from it.

Later that afternoon we went back to Harrahs, showered and took another taxi to The Borgata.

We ate at Wolfgang Puck's for dinner and the food was superb. Great place to people watch.

Stomaches full ... we hopped back into a cab and headed all the way back (a block away) to Harrahs.

But lo and behold, the fireworks had begun for the fourth of July celebration and folks were stopped on the Interstate and walking in the middle of the street. I kid you not. Traffic was at a stand still.

We had a great trip ... flew back today and passed out on the couch. Happy Holidays all!