Sunday, January 30, 2011

Man Cave

The man cave is almost finished.

Actually, as far as I'm concerned it IS finished. The TV set is hung, the components are in the rack, the remote is set, the couch is in place and there's beer in the refrigerator.

Speaking of TVs ... did I mention that I have the new Samsung 3D TV? When I first bought it, there was only one movie out ... Monsters and Aliens. I know it by heart. Now there are at least ... um ... three more I think.

Regardless, it came with these cool battery operated 3D glasses. Debbie says I look like a reject from the Blu Blockers commercial. Yesterday, I went to Best Buy to get a pair of rechargeables. The battery life is short and I have to pace myself with viewing time, you know?

The new remote is really awesome. (I only say awesome when I have my Blu Blockers on). Pre-programmed for everything, it can play every station, movie and i tune on my system. AND ... I can turn on anything I want in any room of the house ... (why I would want to do that I don't know ... but I have that ability).

Josh got me Apple TV for Christmas. It is REALLY awesome. Scary awesome because I think it has now Genius-ed itself into telling ME what to watch and when.

I had to put a picture of beer here. Personally, I'm a scotch drinker ... but of course, in a man cave, beer is a necessity. Yuengling Light, I never heard of. Someone left a six pack here after a party in 2009. Still good though ... huh?

We took this off the shower bar to put up over the sliding doors.

Just kidding, I like this picture and think it's a great deterrent for visitors. We really have bed sheets ... sorry ... Debbie says bed sheet "window treatments".

I think they are gonna be replaced but they work for me.

Oh, I forgot to give an update on the rest of the house. It's ... coming along.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sam on Saturday

"Sansabelt ... you remember me telling you about Sansabelt?"

Sam began this discussion right in the middle of his in depth evaluation of his life ... over the last 89 years. He stopped and switched gears after asking me why my brother and I left home so soon (when we were 21) and why I didn't like the retail business (selling shoes to poor people on Dryades Street).

"Yes, I remember Sansabelt," I answered hoping that I could engage in at least one of his conversation tracks.

"Well, I thought they went out of business .. you remember?"

" I think so ... that was right before you went into severe withdrawal about missing the polyester beltless plaid pants that you so loved right?"

"Guess what?"

"You found them."

"Right ... and there's a store right here in Tampa."

"That's great. want me to get you a couple of pairs?

"No! Do you know they sell for $99 now. I remember when they were only $35."

"Dad ... that was probably 30 years ago."

"I'm not gonna pay that much."


There was a brief pause as he looked over 3 small pieces of paper that apparently had critical information for him to make such an important decision.

"I think you go past this store on the way to work."

"Hey ... I'll be happy to get you a pair of Sansabelts if you want them."

"Well ... I called Harry at the store yesterday and he told me that he had two different colors."

"What are the colors?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know what the two colors are?"

"Harry said he's got the material for me to look at."

"Do you want me to take you to the store to look at them?"

"No ... I'm not gonna buy pants for $99. Do you pay $99 for pants?"

"Yes ... sometimes more."


"No I don't wear Sansabelt."

"You should. They're good pants."

"Dad ... tell me what you want to do. I know you want them. I'll be happy to get them. What does Harry have in stock?"

"Nothing ... he has to special order them."

"So let's go down and talk to Harry and order a pair."

He puts the papers down.

"Say ... you think you could bring me a pot pie one day?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegas Sights ... and Sounds

"There she is ... Miss America!"

And there we were ... at the Planet Hollywood Theater in Las Vegas when all of a sudden the lights dimmed and 53 Miss America hopefuls hit the stage. One by one they introduced themselves:

"Hi, I'm Ashley Davis from the great state of Alabama."

"My name is Abby Hancock and I'm from Alaska."

"Hi ... my name is Perez Hilton and I'm from New York."
(Okay ... the last one was bogus. Perez Hilton is really from Florida.)

We had great seats thanks to my all time Favorite Miss A ... Nicole Johnson. She was Miss America 1999 and currently works at USF, helping families deal with chronic illness and diabetes management. A diabetic herself, Nicole is truly a role model for women of all ages.

As the show progressed, the women wore the traditional pageant garb ...  swimwear to evening gowns and did an incredible job of maintaining their poise (considering the youngest among them was 17 years old). I don't think I could tie my shoes at that age ... at least not without help.

My favorite segment was the talent portion.

Miss Nebraska played a version of Chopsticks on Steroids, Miss Oklahoma (my personal favorite) did a ballet toe-thing and Miss Arkansas came out on stage with two dummies with microphones.

I started to moan ... so did the people around me. Was this a bad Ed Sullivan Show routine? Ventriloquist? You've got to be kidding.

Then she started singing ... and the dummies sang ... and they yodeled ... and we all went wild. It was superb! Miss Arkansas was a huge hit.

She came in first runner up (a nice way to say second place) ... Miss Nebraska took home the crown ... the first and only 17 year old to win.

"And the 53rd Runner Up is ..."

Of course there were losers that night.

Most of them seemed to hang out in the Bellagio lobby at 3 in the morning looking not-so-lovely in their black short dresses, spiked heels, runny makeup with drool sitting on their chins (that is drool right?).

Wait a minute ... those are NOT contestants after all.

And that is NOT drool.

And those girls are much younger than 17.

Poor things. They must have either eaten too much at the buffet or were so homesick for mommy and daddy that they just cried themselves to sleep ...

... in the lobby.

Stars were everywhere.

I met so many famous people outside on the strip.

Elvis stopped to take a picture with me (and only charged me $5). I guess ever since he died and the economy tanked ... the price of stardom has declined.

He looked pretty healthy in this picture.

Funny ... I walked a little further and saw him again. This time he was with Michael Jackson and a Vegas sign man.

Two dead guys and something that was never alive at all.

"Yeah .... that's right ... the buffet, see?" 

This is one of my favorite characters ever. I actually thought I heard my dad behind me ... just a touch more Jersey ... talking about the only topic old guys really care about ... FOOD.

"(Talking on a cell phone ... LOUDLY) So we get to this place Nero's ... Hello? ... Nero's ... like the king ... yeah ... N E R O ... and you don't get nothin' ... that's right ... Hello? Huh? ... nothin' I said ... a lousy piece of steak and nothin' else for $58 ... I had mushrooms too ... but I had to pay for that separate ... 'sposed to be the best place in Vegas ... I'll never eat there again ... nothin' ... what a lousy place ... Hello? ... What? ... Today? ... I'm at the buffet ... yeah ... the buffet ... I had an omelette with peppers ... to make it spicier, you know? ... yeah ... oranges ... pineapples ... bananas ... Hello? ... Huh?  ... " 

"Let's get our nails done ... what do you think? How much can you gamble?"

Debbie and I had some real bonding time. When you're done shopping and just can't gamble another minute (do normal people really feel that way?) ... then according to Debbie it's time for a boy/girl manicure.

That's really all I can say about that.


"Man ... is HE big."

My favorite line of the trip.

A family passed below the statue of David at Caesar's when a little boy stopped, looked up at the statue and said to his dad ...
"Man is HE big."

Just then, a young guy in a business suit turned around and answered ... "That's what SHE said."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Little JOHNNY?

I was reminded yesterday of a flight that we took a couple of years ago. I don't remember where we were going or even the exact date ... but I do remember the family that was sitting about 10 rows ahead of us.

It was a young couple with a 2 year old sandwiched in between. The flight attendant had stopped to talk to the family and pinned a shiny pair of wings on the youngster's shirt.

"What a handsome young man!" the flight attended gushed over the little boy. He looked down ... embarrassed by the attention.

The mom chimed in, "Say thank you to the nice lady."

More silence.

"That's okay, " the flight attendant said. "It was my pleasure. Hey ... wanna play a game?"

The little boy looked up, smiled and nodded enthusiastically.

"Okay ... I will try to guess your name in three tries and then you can try to guess mine. Okay?"


"Okay ... here goes ... is it Harold?"


"No? Well maybe .... um ... Billy?"


"Hmmmm ...  could it be ... Johnny?" 

He looked surprised. "No .... but .... (he pointed to his lap) my PEE PEE'S name is Johnny!"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jewels from Joanne

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?'"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This HAS to be a better year.

Happy 1-1-11!

So glad that 2010 is over. I'm really counting on this year being much better than last. Those of you that have followed my blog know that this was a MOST unhealthy year for yours truly. I travelled to Oz to find a brain, a heart and a bunch of courage. I found all three ... fortunately. We endured months of home repairs ... which have continued ...UNfortunately.

Then ... thinking that I had slipped right past 2010 ... I was reminded that it was not quite over. A few days ago, my mother in law found out that she had cancer. We found her a great doctor, however, and she is getting the best of care. On the way to the hospital, I was turning right in downtown Tampa when a teenaged "phone texter" plowed into my car, crushing my left rear end. Crying hysterically, I found myself comforting HER about the accident. (I cried hysterically soon after I heard the extent of the damages.)

I managed to drive the car to a body shop, got to the hospital that night and headed to Charlotte to watch USF battle Clemson the next morning. It was still 2010 (December 30th) when I arrived ... biting my nails on the plane ride over.

All went smoothly ... in fact, USF WON the Meineke Bowl on New Years Eve Day.

The celebration that night was sweet ... (if you look at the photo above, you'll notice that I was feeling no pain).  And we entered 2011 with a bang.

This morning I awoke with a smile. We headed to the airport with time to spare ... TIME TO SPARE ... never happened before. This was a good sign. (And it was also the last good sign we'd see.)

We checked our bags, headed to security ... and found out that the skycap had given us someone else's tickets. "That's okay ..." I said to myself. "Minor challenge." The skycap sprinted in our direction with our tickets. "See? It's gonna be a good year," I told myself.

No problems at the airport ... our bags got to Tampa safe and sound (whew).

Heading home, I got the bad news that my car would be in the shop for 30 days and that my rental car company was closed until Monday. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just ride it out." Pulling into the garage, the smell knocked us out. Varnish, sealer and other noxious odors filled the air.

"Okay," Debbie said. "We can't stay here tonight."

Back into the car and to Plan A ... Bruce and Maria's condo (which they graciously offered the week before). Plan A didn't work out very well ...

1. We got lost and couldn't find the condo.
2. We found it ... but the elevator was broken.
3. Climbing three floors of stairs with luggage we finally opened the door.
4. There was no power.

Hmmmm ... not looking spectacular in 2011 yet ...

5. Power restored. Turned on the heater.
6. Heater explodes and sets off the smoke detector.
7. Neighbor Dan comes over and inspects the damage at Maria's request.

Neighbor Dan is a trip. He looks a little like any one of the cast of Revenge of the Nerds. He's verrrry slow and breathes in while he speaks.  "Wellllllll ... I reallllly don't know what happened to the thermostat and the unit (breathing in) I will now attempt to open the thermostat and find the culprit. No .... that's not it .... electrical problem, I think ... (an hour later) Wellllll ... I reallllly don't know what happened to the thermostat ......"

8. Thanked neighbor Dan, shut down power and left the condo.
9. Went back home ... still poisonous ... so we did just what we did for Christmas.

HOTEL ROOM. (which is where I am right now)

Not giving up on 2011.

Wait a minute ... Menorah Manor called ... Sammy threw up and fell against the bathroom toilet ... BUT ... he's okay (probably damaged the toilet with his head).

What did I say about 2011?

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...