Monday, July 28, 2014


Josh took me to the Rays game yesterday.

We had a great time. It's really nice when your kids start inviting you to stuff ... and pick up the tab. It's pretty cool.

There was a family sitting next to us (well, sitting next to Josh). The dad kept his eyes on the game and the mom was in constant motion corralling her four kids.

That's her son in the picture. He sat in every seat in the row at one point in time ... finally settling practically in Josh's lap. His little brother finally fell asleep after he too was hanging on Josh's arm.

This little guy was covered with ice cream, cotton candy and some other unrecognizable fluids ... all of which wound up on Josh's body.

Yes ... Kids love Josh. I love Josh too. (But I wasn't about to trade seats with him).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Earth to Sammy!

Okay, I admit it. I have been losing it with Sam lately.

I know ... he's 93 and making it through each day the best he can. But he drives me crazy. I said it ... call me a schmuck but he drives me crazy and I told him so. Some days I get tired of playing "Who's on first?"

It all actually started a couple of weeks ago. While I was in the hospital, Debbie celebrated Sammy's birthday at Menorah Manor with all the other July birthday boys and girls.

"Where's Joel?" Sammy asked.

"Well, Sam ... he's in the hospital again. He's okay though ... another heart procedure ..."

"Oh. Okay."

Yep. That's what he said to Debbie. She told me he was unfazed. Actually, I wasn't upset that he didn't ask a lot of questions. Usually, he asks lots more, doesn't quite comprehend all the tests and worries a lot.

A few days later he called my phone and left a message.

"Joel. Why didn't you tell me Josh (my son) was in the paper? I had to hear it from other people like Iris ... they said what's wrong with Joel? 'Why doesn't he tell you these things?' "

I called him back.

"Dad, I've been in the hospital ..."

"So why didn't you tell me Josh was in the paper about his job with the Rays? It's embarrassing not knowing ..."

"Well ... I've been a little bit preoccupied ..."

"You didn't have time to call?"

"I've been in the hospital."

"What? I didn't know that. Why didn't anybody tell me. Don't you know how I worry?"  

"Debbie told you the other day. Listen, I don't want you to worry. It was a procedure that ..."

"So when are you coming over to bring me lunch?"

"Um ... when I get out of the hospital ..."

"You are in the hospital?"

If the story stopped there it would have been frustrating enough. But it didn't. We went to see him this weekend and brought him an egg salad sandwich from Jo-El's Deli. He loves their sandwiches and this one he could actually chew.

"Dad ... we brought you a sandwich."

"Good ... I need shoes."

"Um ... okay ... well we just brought you another pair but if you want something else..."

"I want the bone colored, soft leather loafer."

"Like the ones you are wearing?"


"Are those not working out."

"That's a stupid thing to say. These are the ones that I want."

"Okay ... I will get you ANOTHER pair."

"So ... where have you been?"

Okay ... that was it. I told him he doesn't ever listen to me. I hear about Iris's sons and the Rays lineup for the game and Mrs. Schwartz's gall bladder procedure and what happened at the poker game last week. But he doesn't listen to anything I tell him.

Just then ... one of the staff walked in and told me hello. Then she said ... "Oh Joel, I'm glad you are here. Your dad was so worried about you last week. You know he didn't know you were in the hospital. You really should let him know."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Debbie at DD

My one favorite meal for breakfast is egg white veggie flatbread and coffee collatta. This morning, Debbie went to Dunkin Donuts to get it for me. It seemed to take longer than usual and then I got the text "Boycotting DD!!!!!"

I figured something went wrong.

Do you remember the woman who went crazy at the Mc Donalds drive thru when she couldn't get her McNuggets?

Apparently, Debbie did something similar this morning. Here's how she said it happened:

Inadvertantly, Debbie drove past the speaker to order her food (she thinks she might have been on the phone at the time). When she got to the window she said,

"I'm so sorry, I missed the speaker and couldn't get back. Can I just tell you what I want?"

The young kid at the window says, "Sorry Miss. I can't do that. You will have to drive around again." By now the line is around the building.

"What? Can't I just tell you what I want?"

"Can't do that. I have to ask my manager."

The manager was standing right next to the kid, overhears the conversation and says ... "Miss ... I'm sorry but you have to either drive around or come in the store."

Debbie was now getting a little pissed ... "You can't ... or you won't? I am here every day and this is the first time I am asking this. You won't do this for me?"

That was the part that Debbie almost did a McNugget dance through the window. The manager says, "Sorry we are just too busy."

She pealed out of line, went to another DD who messed up the coolatta order and then immediately called the national company and talked to the customer service rep (who she said was just delightful) and then wrote a scathing review of Dunkin Donuts ON FOURTH STREET AND TENTH AVENUE in St. Pete on Facebook for all to see.

I think she might either get free veggie flatbreads for a year or have her picture posted in the drive thru forever.

When she finally got home and gave me breakfast ... I fed a little piece of the flatbread to the cat that hangs out on our steps and checked for any unusual body hairs in the coolatta..

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Plumbing Made Simple ... or Not

Big surprise.

The plumbing in my heart isn't like everyone else's plumbing. I actually didn't find that out until AFTER my ablation procedure.

We got there at 6 AM and I was in the Cath Lab at 7:30. The anesthesiologist put me to sleep and the next thing I knew was that I was waking up in that general anesthesia daze.

I felt like crap.

What Debbie told me after they wheeled me in the room was that the procedure took over 6 hours ... not 3 like we had been told. I shouldn't be surprised. The same thing happened with my neurosurgery procedure last July. The reason? My plumbing was different.

Maybe if you cut open my dad, you'd find his heart in his left shoulder and his brain ... well ... I won't even go there. Genetics.

Anyway, it's all done. I finally feel like I can write about it. Truly, this procedure kicked my butt. I think it's probably because I didn't expect it to be this tough. I couldn't sleep or eat at all yesterday in the hospital. Lots of pain when I breathe.

But I was discharged today and am home now, and starting to feel a little better. Hopefully, the afib is gone and this would be my last ablation.

(Unless it turns up in my knee).

Buy my book ... HOME MOVIES

Monday, July 7, 2014


The only thing missing today was Bill Murray waking up to 'I Got You Babe'.

I was back at TGH for the 7th time in 12 months. Ironically, in honor of my return visit, I was stuck 7 times in the arms and hands. Four nurses and one anesthesiologist tried to start an IV on me. "You're skin is too thick." That's what they told me the reason was why they couldn't get it into a vein.

Finally. a five foot tall tech apparently was strong enough to get it started.

After the IV was in, I was wheeled into a room for the pretest of my third cardiac ablation. It's called a TEE .... a test to check for clots in your heart. A tube was inserted down my esophagus as they pumped the Michael Jackson drug into my last vein.

Fortunately, it worked. And my heart is clot free.

So bright and early tomorrow, I go back for my third (and hopefully my last) ablation ... wish me luck and a strong vein!

Friday, July 4, 2014


Ate lunch today at Harvey's on Fourth Street.

If you live in St. Pete and don't know about Harvey's, you have been hanging out with the wrong people. And, if you don't "frequent" Harvey's ... you will never be considered a true 'burger.

I will admit it ... I love Harvey's.

When I order a grouper sandwich and fries it's usually because I have been thinking about it for hours (or days). Perfect bun, fresh lettuce and tomato, fresh grouper and unbelievably delicious fries.

I tell you this because it just so happened that Debbie and I were talking about the food and atmosphere when Jimmy, Harvey's manager since the dawn of time, came up to say hello. He asked me if I had seen the recent review in the Times.

"I didn't see it, Jim ... was it a good one?"

Jimmy shrugged."Not sure. I think it was good. She said a lot of great things but gave it two stars."

"Two stars? Is she crazy?"

Jimmy laughed. "Well ... you take a look and tell me what you think. Anyway, I don't think our average customer makes their decision based on reviews. When they talk about going out to eat, they go through all the restaurants up and down Fourth and eventually say, 'Oh Hell ... Let's just go to Harvey's' ... I'm thinking that should be our tagline."

I read the review.

It wasn't bad and it wasn't good. Fact is, it wasn't much of anything. It lacked substance ... something Harvey's has never lacked. To me, Harvey's is like Saturday Night Live. Each season, some of the main characters move on but you know when you tune in, you're gonna be entertained because there's a great comfort in the same format. The elevated red railed bar still has a lot of the same characters (behind the bar and in front). Eighty year olds share war stories with 30 year olds, Drinks are still affordable, the menu doesn't really change much except for Sundays when the brunch is to die for and the food is always good.

You'll find Harvey's located in a little strip center ... nothing to look at from the outside. But don't be deterred.

It's  like everything that has substance, it's what's on the inside that counts. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Hi ... My name is Cole.

I have to apologize for my family ... especially my Pop because he insists on showing me off. If you follow his blog, you have seen my picture more than a few times.  He knows how self conscious I am about the size of my arms, my legs and my head.

But he insists.

My Mom is even worse about pictures. She sends one out every hour ... whether I'm sitting, rolling, drooling, crawling, pooping, laughing or just hanging out.

It is hard enough just being this cute ... you know? 

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...