Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins tonight, Nov. 27, 2013 with the lighting of the first candle in the Menorah. That means that the first day of Hanukkah is Thanksgiving. This has given rise to a new word: Thanksgivukkah!

I checked out the obvious question: How often do Hanukkah and Thanksgiving come together? The answer: Less than rarely.

Way back in 1861, the fourth Thursday in November coincided with Hanukkah. But that doesn't count, since President Lincoln did not declare Thanksgiving to be a national holiday until 1863.

When will it happen again?  Almost never.

I take that back ... With built in adjustments to both the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars to keep them “on track,” various calculations have determined that won’t happen again for somewhere between 70,000 and 78,000 years.

Why do the Jewish holidays seem to move around so much? For one thing ... we were wandering Jews for years ( no ... not the plant). Remember when Moses found us the only piece of the desert without oil? We settled.

Okay ... the real reason is because the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar with adjustments for the solar calendar. A solar year is defined as the time it takes for the earth to circle the sun. Because that time span is slightly longer than 365 days, every four years there is a “leap year” which adds another day to February in order to keep the calendar from drifting away from the seasons.

The Hebrew calendar follows the cycles of the moon, each new month beginning on the new moon. But since the lunar calendar is shorter than the solar based Gregorian calendar, adjustments need to be made to the Hebrew calendar. In order to compensate for the shorter year and keep the Hebrew calendar aligned with the solar, a 13th “leap-month” is added to the Hebrew calendar seven times every 19 years.

So ... you now have been educated way beyond every Jew I know.

When you bite into that turkey tomorrow, you might want to whisper to the person next to you to pass the cranberry and latkes.

Happy Thanksgivukkah!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

What's the Difference?

Last night, Debbie and I had a discussion about calling each other when we are running late. Ever had one of those? 

By the way, Deb has really been great about taking care of me while I've been laid up with a busted knee (among my other medical problems). She's been running late for a variety of reasons which I totally understand. However, I took the opportunity to ask her something she asks me all the time ... "Why didn't you call if you knew that you were running late?" To which she said ... "I lost track of time." 

Ah hah! I said (to myself) ... "That usually doesn't work for me when I say that." But I knew it was better to keep that to myself ... or my other knee would be crushed too.

It started me thinking about those wonderful differences in marriages between men and women that make life interesting. I categorized three areas that we tend to "discuss". There are so many more but in the interest of time here are my three:

Cash. Women never carry it. You would think in those suitcase sized bags that are called purses there would be plenty of room. But ... other than a random change purse ... there isn't any. The last few weeks, Debbie has taken me to a few doctor's appointments and has used the valet service at TGH. I offer to pay the $5 ... but Debbie says, "No ... I've got it right here ... go wait in the lobby." I watch as she goes through the thousands of compartments and individual purses in the mother ship as the valet wearily holds her door open. Eventually, she asks me for a $5 bill.

Time.  I know "time" is a relative thing that apparently has multiple meanings depending on the situation. For instance, when we have to go to an event that requires "time" to get ready, a shower and a shave are the necessities for me and a spa treatment usually works for Debbie. I give Debbie credit. She plans for the spa treatment and allows about an hour and a half. (She is still somehow short of time no matter how much she prepares).

Favors. (As in "Would you do me a favor ...") Typically, this sentence ends with something that one or the other party is unhappy about. For Debbie it's usually ... close the door to the bathroom when you finish ... or ... use a kleenex ... or ... pick up your crap. Hers all relate to cleanliness. Debbie is the cleanest woman I have ever met. If she had super powers she would be GERM-FREE WOMAN... wearing special protective super costumes with those cool rubber gloves and zapping me clean day and night.  By the way, my "favors" end with ... can we get rid of the "soft" water equipment in the bathroom (nobody likes the feel of soap on their bodies all day long) ... or ... can we hang that stupid 2 ton mirror that leans behind the table with the big balls?

Send me your list (If you dare!) ... I know we are not alone.

Click here to order: HOME MOVIES

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Giving Thanks

With the holidays upon us, I get into my Christmas movie binge and pretend to be a gentile.

I always felt like I was missing something growing up Jewish and watching all my gentile friends getting into the spirit ... and getting presents. Their families had the big Christmas dinners ... I was so jealous (since my mom didn't even turn on the oven because it would get dirty).

Last night I looked through Netflix for a good old fashioned Jesus movie for Debbie and me. You know ... one about a guy who loses his faith, gets hit by a bus, turns to drugs and alcohol, questions God and then is visited by an angel at Christmas (maybe when he walks out of an AA meeting) to remind him that he should be thankful for what he does have and, eventually, through adversity he gains strength.

This morning I thought I'd try it out on myself. So I thought about the days when I used to smoke and drink and gamble and stay out late ... now in adversity with my crazy medical problems I made up my new Christmas prayers:

Thank you God for giving me these headaches so I have an awareness that my brain still works,

Thank you God for the heart murmurs that remind me to listen to my heart,

Thank you God for allowing me to trip Friday night and bust up my knee so that I can sit back for a few weeks to appreciate life and watch more movies.

Who am I kidding ... I feel like crap, I'm Jewish and I was healthier when I smoked, drank, gambled and stayed out late. But then again ... I probably wouldn't be here if I still lived like that ... right?

Okay ... how about thanks for my wife Debbie (who puts up with all my whining), my kids Nikki, Alissa and Josh ... and my new grandson ... COLE.

Now that beats any Christmas present.

Click to buy :HOME MOVIES


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Wayne

Today is my brother Wayne's birthday.

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that Wayne passed away in 1995 from a malignant brain tumor.

He was 42 years old.

Over the last 18 years, Wayne has been in my thoughts just about every day. The last few months, I've spoken to him often for strength and for guidance. . I remember the way he lived his life. I remember how he continued on ... kept a positive attitude ... despite multiple surgeries, bone marrow transplantation and loss of bodily functions. He made a point of helping others in need of support during the years that he could.

He's still a great listener.

Happy Birthday, little brother. 
I miss you, man.

Click to buy my book: Home Movies

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Billion Reasons to Throw a Party

What a night!

Friday night at the Tampa Bay Forum was a great celebration for USF. The Unstoppable Campaign reached and exceeded the $600 million goal. Later in the night the BIG REVEAL showed the NEW goal ... $1 BILLION.

More than 500 guests and supporters donned their finest and joined us to celebrate.

Here are some pictures of the evening:

You would never know that they would play hockey on this floor tomorrow night.

TV Celebrities and USF Alum Ann Liguori and Kerry Sanders were the hosts for the evening.

The Pointer Sisters entertained the crowd ...we made them honorary Bulls at the Cocktail reception.

Campaign Chairman Les Muma thanked the crowd.

Co-chairs for the next phase of USF:Unstoppable $1 Billion Campaign Gordon Gillette and Tod Liewike "Get Excited"
Speaking of "Get Excited" ... President Genshaft closed the show with the Pointers.

And the crowd went wild!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We've Got Some Big Balls

Debbie took advantage of my frequent trips to TGH.

She ordered new furniture.

I completely understood when she told me. After all ... our furniture was at least two years old. Now to be fair, she always manages to sell our "old" furniture before I even notice it's gone. And I usually notice it's gone two years after she sells it.

I saw our newly furnished digs on Friday when I was discharged. Debbie had me stand in the garage for a few minutes before she did the final touches. She threw open the doors and said "TA DA!"

I looked around for a few seconds.

"Well. what do you think?"

"That's quite a pair of chandeliers that you got this time for the dining room table."

"Don't you just love them?"

"Those are some big balls."

"I know ... they give off lots of light."

"I think we might need sunscreen at dinner."

"Don't worry, I got dimmer switches for everything."

"Good ... now we can watch the total eclipse of the sun in stereo."

"You know ... I just thought they looked like SO MUCH FUN."

"I bet Cirque du Soleil would want to move in with us."

"Well ... Michael loved them." (Michael is our friend and the owner of Haven Home Furnishing).

"Does he have room for these two balls in his house?"

"I can't believe you don't like these. They are the newest rage for the homes downtown."

"Are these homes bigger than ours ... like 30 times bigger?"

"Our house is just the right size. Look how well they go with the new fixture in the kitchen."

"There's a new fixture in the kitchen? Oh ... I see them ... the three little balls in the biggest room of the house."

Truth is ... I don't know why I even bother to comment. The fixtures and the furniture will only be here for two years. By that time I start to get used to the balls ... they'll be gone.


Friday, November 8, 2013


I just heard that I was entered into the Journal of Medical Oddballs for 2013. That's what one of my Neurosurgery Fellows told me on Thursday. It's his own journal that he keeps for those special patients for whom he has no answers.

I feel very special.

No one will be surprised to learn that I was admitted to TGH AGAIN the other day for the 3,487th time in four months. This time it was for monitoring a new drug they are giving me for a fib ... yes now I have a fib as well. As the heart guys were trying to figure out why my heart has been acting up ... the neuro guys were checking out the headaches that still are happening with a now normal head scan and MRI that I had done yesterday.

The good news is that these nagging problems are not life threatening. A fib is manageable and my brain is now functioning normally (well MOMBERG normal ... which is a hair better than Abbie Normal).

So .... today I will be discharged with yet more new drugs, which brings my total to .... um ...  just ran out of fingers and toes.

All good.

Thanks to all my friends and readers for shelling out a few bucks to get this incredible literary masterpiece (did I spell that right?).
The title of the book is Home Movies, by the way. I forgot to mention that in one of my blog entries ... which I understand is an important marketing tactic to use. Some people thought the title was Buy My Book. (I like that better). has it and if you look in the upper right area of this blog (web view) it's ready for a click!
Oh ... please leave a review of the book on the site. (unless you think the book sucks ... then tell me later).  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Great Grampy

Sammy had yet to see his great grandson, Cole. So Deb and I visited him at Menorah Manor to introduce him to Cole ... via Face Time.

He was sitting by himself outside of the gift shop when we arrived.

"Hi Sammy,"

He smiled and waved. "I like sitting here alone you know."

I pointed down the hall. "There is a program going on next door. Don't you want to go?"


I called Nikki and handed the phone to Sammy. "Hey ... Got a surprise for you. I'm gonna introduce you to your great grandson."

"What? You got pictures."

"Better than that ..."

Nikki was waving ... with baby Cole in her arms. ""Hi Grampy. Here's your great grandson."

"Where are you?"

"At home ... getting Cole ready for some pictures."

It took him a while to figure out what was happening but he was smiling from ear to ear. When he finished talking he handed me the phone. "Can you believe it?"

"Pretty special huh?"

"Yeah ... I'm just thinking that I am a great grandfather. I don't know any one like me. There aren't any other great-grandfathers. I think I'm the only one. Do you know any?"

"Well ... I think there are other ..."

"I sit here and think about how proud I am of me." He pulled out his 300th kleenex as the pile in front of him grew to mountainous size. "I had marinara yesterday at Olive Garden. You ever had marinara?"


"I never ate that before. What's it made out of ... meat?"

"Tomato sauce and ..."

"Sauce ... that's sauce? I don't know ... I always have marsala."

He looked over at the next table and a little woman waved at him. Sammy waved and said loudly, "That's Edith. She's blind and deaf. She plays poker with us ... she doesn't know what she's doing ... I taught her ... poor thing."

Edith stood up and walked to the elevator shaking her head and dodging a few chairs.

"Dad ... are you sure she's blind ..."

He blew his nose. "You know there are lots of changes here too."

"New staff?"

" ... dropping like flies ..."


"Nurses, patients ... fish ..."

"Did you say fish?"

Ignoring me, he turned to Debbie. " So Debbie ... how's your family? How is Mr. O'Malley?"

Debbie asks, "You mean Gallagher? My Dad?"

"Yeah, whatever ... I knew it was an Irish name ..."

" He's doing fine."

"So Joel ... how are you feeling?"

"Okay ... I had surgery again on Friday."

"How's your cheek?"

"My cheek? Um ... if you mean my numbness it's really in the top part of my ..."

He interrupted again. "You know I have an incredible memory. Everybody tells me ... and I'm a great listener too ... are you a good listener, Joel."

I ignored him.


BRAIN BOY UPDATE: Surgery at TGH on Friday to clip off my shunt (It was taking too much fluid from my brain.) Seems to be working ... taking it easy this weekend  ... although I had a SPLITTING HEADACHE after seeing my Dad. 

Don't forget Home Movies!!! Many have told me that they have already bought copies or downloaded their Kindles. 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Did you know I wrote a book?

Can you believe the number of self-promoting ego maniacs that are out there? (please buy my book)

I have no patience for what I read today in Facebook or LinkedIn or blogs from  people who talk about themselves incessantly ... trying to get you to buy some product they are peddling.. (it's the greatest book you ever read).


Granted there are many choices in products these days (the author is so clever)

. But folks need to have some modicum of modesty and class (he's also devilishly handsome).

Times are tough ... I get it ... so it's not easy making a living. (it just costs a few bucks. Don't cheap out).

They will stop at nothing. (I'll come to your house to deliver it).

I've written a book, you may have heard ... but you will never see me stoop to these tactics. (remember I have been through brain surgery so have a little empathy).

Nope ... with me you'll never have to worry about false promises and gimmicks.. (send me your email and I'll get you free flights to Hawaii with every purchase).

My biggest pet peeves are the salesmen who will  try to distract you with pictures of animals or kids. Don't you hate them the most???  (BTW ... have you seen my grandson COLE?)


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...