Sunday, May 9, 2021

Welcome to New Orleans (Make That Philly)

"So guess what?" I asked Deb about a month ago ... after planning a trip to New Orleans as our first big outing. "I bought us NBA tickets to the Philly/New Orleans game on Friday."

"That's great," Deb said. "I've never been to an NBA game. Are the seats good?"

"The seats are great!"I said, "... except we would be sitting in Philly."

"On the Philly side of the stadium? That's okay."

"No. IN PHILLY. I screwed up and brought tickets for a game that is in Philly, not New Orleans."

Thus began our whirlwind trip to New Orleans AND Philly (the tickets were non refundable and we decided against reselling them online)

I'll start with Philly. It was the last stop ... but the craziest. We did it in one day. Rushing to the airport at the last minute as is the case with most of our planning, finding our seats on Frontier Airlines (truly no frills, no food, no leg room and seats that were carved out of a forest somewhere) we got there an hour before game time. 

Wells Fargo Arena is in the Navy Yard section of Philly amid the other sports complexes (Baseball and Football) and a short walk from the Marriott Courtside. We hadn't eaten anything all day so we were starving by the time we got to the stadium. As luck would have it, Deb found a salad place and I bought a chicken sandwich that I managed to take one bite of and had to throw the rest out. It was bad ... I mean really bad. Soft served ice cream was my dinner that night.

The game turned out to be pretty great (for us). Philly blew a 16 point lead and fought back in the last few minutes to barely beat the Pelicans. We spent the night in our little Marriott bed and visited old friends, Steve and Colleen Klasko, the next day ... hustling back to St. Pete in the afternoon.

By the way, we ate our way through New Orleans, days earlier. 

There were the crawfish beignets at Grand Isle Restaurant, shrimp and corn risotto and flourless volcano dessert at Superior Seafood and a big old shrimp po boy at ACME Oysters.

 It was heaven.

Sometimes the trips that seem to have gone awry turn out to be some of the best trips ever.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Sammy ... Are You Listening?


"You know ... I am VERY proud of me!"

That was one of my dad's favorite things to say. The funniest thing about that line was that he didn't use it to be funny. And ... it was often said when he was talking about his grandkids. If Nikki, my oldest daughter, was given special recognition in the medical community for something that she accomplished as a physician ... he would say, "I showed my friend Stan the article in the paper about Nikki. I am VERY proud of me. I'm her grandfather, you know?" 

I just finished a screenplay adaptation of my second book "SAMMY". Sending it around to people I know in the industry who might give it a read or share it with others. You never know, SAMMY just might find his way to the silver screen (if they exist any more after COVID darkened movie theaters everywhere). 

Audio sales have been doing well for the new audio version of SAMMY as well. It's on Amazon and Audible if you want to check it out (I never pass up a chance to beg). 

I often wonder what Sammy would say about all the attention he has gotten from the fictionalized account of his life. Like all of us, his life was filled with ups and downs. I know there were things left undone that bothered him. 

That's one of the reasons I wrote SAMMY ... to give him virtual closure. 

Maybe if he were alive today, he would give Stan a copy of the book and say "I am VERY proud of me! That's my son, the author, you know?"

Monday, March 8, 2021

Only Keli Would Ask

The other night the siblings went out to dinner on PAG beach (Pass a Grille for the out of towers). We started out at our condo drinking wine and then walked to Grace Restaurant. Sitting there at Grace, my sister in law Keli (who may have consumed the lions share of the wine) looked at the silverware which was wrapped in baggies for all in attendance and asked me a question. I’m sure she didn’t look at her silverware first. 

“Joel ... is that special silverware that you bring with you?” 


“Your silverware  ... it’s wrapped in plastic. Is that Diabetic silverware?”

I wasn’t sure what to answer first. I thought about saying “duh! Everyone has wrapped silverware and what the heck is diabetic silverware?” But the fact that she even asked left me speechless. 

Without having to answer she finally laughed and said. “Oh sorry. Never mind. I thought you had diabetes.”

Friday, February 26, 2021

IPhone, uPhone, We all Phone

There is one word that has been banned from our household: iPhone. 

This wasn’t always the case. But lately, the word has been linked with criminal acts and  cursed repeatedly by Debbie in ways that I am even shocked to hear. Truth be told, Debbie has never liked her  iPhone (since she traded up from an iPhone 3 ... I think 10 years ago) and was always unhappy with the lack of consistency and multiple glitches she encountered ... hence ... the repeated use of colorful language in its description. It has gotten so bad as of late, that even Debbie promised not to mention it anymore. I’ll admit that I encouraged her silence after she cursed me for inferring that her 250,000 saved emails might be to blame for a sluggish performance. It was not healthy for our marriage  

The other morning, Debbie brought it up once more  this time she seemed really shaken when she shared this, “ Okay ... I am REALLY over it  My phone is gone. I can’t find it. It is in some large room hidden by the Apple people and I spent all night looking for it.”

Bad dreams are a sign that it’s time to get that sucker fixed (or delete at least half of your emails.) But that’s just me and I will say no more. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

You Feel a Little Warm

A few days ago, I was given the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. My arm was a little sore and I felt a little under the weather.  

That night Deb felt my head and said “You feel a little warm honey. Let me take your temperature.”

She came back with a new thermometer I hadn’t seen before. It was pretty large and bright yellow. “Just bought this,“. she said. “I wanted to try it out”

It was still in the package and the instructions were written in a different language. One thing I was sure of ... it met two of her criteria for a purchase. 

1. It came from WalMart

2. It was cheap or on sale

As she slipped it in my mouth, I told her that the thing was so big that I couldn’t hardly keep it in my mouth  “Just make sure it’s under your tongue.”  

Ten minutes later, it still hadn’t beeped or anything. She took it out and noticed it was 99.5. “Okay looks like you have a fever.” 

I was skeptical but agreed to take a couple of Tylenol. A few minutes later she came back with the old thermometer and asked me to try it again. 


“ Because I looked the new one up on line.”


“ it’s a Meat Thermometer.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Yesterday ... Came across all these pics of the kids when they were little. Nikki, being the first born, posed in most of them for me. I think I ruined her for life. She now takes pictures of her two kids every ten minutes. 

She was a beautiful baby and now is a beautiful woman. By the way... there are pictures of my other two kids Alissa and Josh who are equally beautiful and handsome. 

But Nikki was around for 6 years before they arrived so she got all the attention. 

I found a series of drawings that I did when she was still in diapers (This was 40 years ago).

Note: Anybody old enough to remember Didee Diapers? We used them until disposables were sold.

The plan was to paint these images on her bedroom walls ... things she could be when she grew up ... musician, teacher, painter, zookeeper ... plumber. Good thing I didn’t do that. Nikki is now a successful doctor (one image I didn’t draw) and we had lived in at least five houses by the time she was 13. 

Oh well ...  time marched on. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

We ALL See Him!


This guy is my new favorite actor in my new favorite commercials. Bill Glass plays Dr. Rick in Progressive Insurance’s series of ads that are brilliantly written and brilliantly portrayed by Glass and others. 

They are hysterical in their simplicity. 

He is a Parents-Life Coach who works with adult children to correct habits they have picked up from their parents. They go on field trips to places like the hardware store where Dr  Rick reminds them to not talk on their speaker phones in public and when they pass a customer with blue hair and the class all stares, Dr  Rick says, “We ALL see him  We ALL See him.”

Look for Dr  Rick. He’s the best. Kudos to Progressive. There are SO MANY dumb commercials out there. 

I am so happy there are still some smart people in advertising. 

Welcome to New Orleans (Make That Philly)

"So guess what?" I asked Deb about a month ago ... after planning a trip to New Orleans as our first big outing. "I bought us...