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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dog says it all.

I ain't going on no trip!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

GOP - 2016 'Alone Survivor'

Pinocchio? Who's he?


I did not cheat on my  school exams.
                          "Do not argue with an idiot. He will try to drag you
down to his level and beat you with experience."

No! I don't want to go on no trip!!

Get ready for the new
 2016 segment of 'Alone Survivor'.  Sponsored by the GOP.
Far as I'm concerned, the 2012 edition will be hard to beat.
Old Mitt Romney ran for Prez
E I, E I, Oh.
With a Mitt Mitt here
And a Mitt Mitt there
Here a Mitt, There a Mitt
Old Mitt Romney
Ran for Prez
E I, E I Oh.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hugo found a rose.


Anybody who knows me has heard me proclaim, "There is only one thing I hate about kids and every kid does it.  This does not apply to Hugo who for sure did it too but he is still Hugo. (Become adults)

Hugo and Rose.
I met Hugo when he was putting the last inch on his 6 foot, 4 inch frame.  Hugo always did stuff as if it was enjoyable to do it . What was he doing?  Didn't matter..  And if you wanted something done, just ask Hugo, he wouldn't say no.  If he was already on a schedule that left him only a few minutes to eat and doing your thing meant he had to miss a meal, he missed the meal. And for sure, whatever he was doing, got done. Teachers were amazed at his ability to find the time to do stuff.  It was like a challenge to some of them. "Well he cant have time to do this so I will ask him and he will have to say he doesn't have the time."  But he always said yes, and then did it. 
He would come to the tennis courts immediately after school for an hour of tennis instruction. When I learned about  his schedule I made sure I was always there.  So he became a good tennis player.  But his tennis problem was demonstrated in a tournament at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Center.  In the third round he was playing the 2nd seed, it was the 3rd set and Hugo was so sleepy he was yawning all over the place. His opponent was good.

If you know Hugo and can go . . .rsvp
One Saturday he called, on his cel, and I went a few blocks from my home and there was Hugo, on Alton Road with his van nestled against a Melaleuca tree. "Hugo, What happened?"  "Mr. Howard, I really don't know.  I was driving up this street and suddenly I am against this tree."  "Ok Hugo, take it easy.  I know just what  happened.  This a famous tree, he likes to snuggle against cars and he loves vans. And if he sees any one from Columbia driving this way, he jumps into the street, right in front of you,  and if you hit him he jumps back to where he was, pulling you and your van with him so he can snuggle."  Hugo should patent the way he would look at you and kind of laugh or giggle when he heard nonsense like that.
The story about what happened to Hugo after he graduated from Beach High is elsewhere on this blog.  If it had happened while school was in session the whole school would have turned out in outrage.  What did happen demonstrates how ugly public officials can be and what ugly things they do for political reasons.   But Hugo took it in stride. 
Hugo loves Ecclesiastes stuff.
Back in Columbia with the help of a tennis scholarship, he graduated from college, and he is now in, of all places, New Zealand.  The first country to give women the right to vote.  A country where, to get elected, politicians have to show voters they care about their word.  They care about people.  And they care about their country.  And, get this, they vote for the things they tell the voters they're for.    You know, just like in our country, the good old US of A, where  politicians had to do similar stuff to get elected, once upon a time .  .  .
Well anyway Hugo is in New Zealand, and . . . Hugo found a rose. 


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cavs, Lebron, & Heat

There was a basketball game, on Christmas Day
Between the Heat, and the Cavs who came to play.
With them was former Heat player, Lebron James. 
Oh my, can he drive the lane?  And remember that wild Miami Shake?
And his last second threes?  Pffffffft!!!! For him that's a piece of cake.
Yes.  Lebron James came back to play.

3 Guys with Howard
Back in Ohio he has 2 trophies on his mantel.
You can see them from a very soft seat.
But he won those trophies while he was in Miami,
At that time he was playing for the Heat.

Yep that basketball game, played on Christmas day,
It was a struggle, won by the Heat against their old teammate,
What more can I say?

There is a famous book Lebron, it says,"You Cant Go back Again."**  
That's not the way.
**(Thomas Wolfe)

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
After a trial in Federal court, the ex-governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, was found guilty of some charges and now faces jail time for doing  stuff while he was governor of Virginia.  Most female voters in Virginia feel sorry for his wife. They knew her husband was for a vagina probing law because he thought it would help him get nominated for Vice President on the GOP ticket.  But nobody thought he wasn't man enough to protect his wife or that he would actually throw her under a bus. To me it isn't a question of his disgusting morality, or his worse ethics, or even his honesty.  To me it just means he picked the wrong state. All the shenanigans he was found guilty of doing didn't amount to much more than a coupla hundred thousand dollars. Most governors can surreptitiously  pocket more than that from their campaign contributions.

Yes sir. Yes sir. Yes sir. Yes sir. Yes sir. Mr. Scott. 
However, if McDonnell was the governor of Florida, he would be considered a piker.  The Florida governor is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and he was on his way to challenging Bernie Madoff's record for doing fraud stuff.  Where did all that stolen money come from?  Mostly it came from your taxes  via fraud against Medicare and Medicaid by the company he  built,  'from scratch' to be a conglomerate of many more than 75 hospitals.  Everyone of them was fined for stealing from Medicare and Medicaid. A lot of officials of his hospitals went to jail.  Why wasn't the primary purpose of these hospitals to heal the sick?   Why was the real purpose of his company to reward the CEO (him) with enough money to buy the governorship of Florida?  The FBI investigation of the company uncovered all kinds of felonious stuff, including double booking, etc.  This caused the board of directors to throw Scott out. Without the investigation, no way they could get the  votes needed to do that.  HE was the CEO.   HE was the head honcho.  HE called the shots!!!And the shots he called resulted in jail time for many officers of his companies, but not for him.
Used Car Salesman? Nope.
Here's another question, how is he going to replenish his coffers?  Will he wait till after his second term is over?  One thing I feel certain of, he is going to replace the money he spent to become governor.. And remember this; his training background is building companies who are adept in stealing large amounts of money from government programs meant to help elderly citizens and low income people.
Woe to Medicaid and Medicare.  Medical treatments are getting better (and more expensive) meaning seniors are living longer and will depend on more health care.  Republicans, like Paul Ryan and his ilk, are trying to cut their funding!!  And Governor Rick Scott, after his new term is over, is looming on the horizon.  Woe! Woe! Woe!

Friday, October 3, 2014

A piece of ass.

(Originally posted November,2012.)

Two years ago, late November (2012), my granddaughter, Melinda, received an email about Pilgrims.  You remember the Pilgrims, right?  The early settlers who started the whole Thanksgiving thing.  Well, the email which came before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, contained the following thought: 
Ass or Donkey
 "When the Pilgrims  prepared their meal for their planned  'feast of thanks', if they had just thought a little more and prepared and cooked a donkey for dinner, instead of cooking a cow or a turkey, we could all be having a 'piece of ass' at this time every year to celebrate Thanksgiving"

Thank you Melinda.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Marsha & Chickee

Marsha was my first child.  Wow.  All the wonders and other amazing stuff that starts when you begin having kids, especially dealing with girl babies, ...well that stuff started with Marsh's arrival.  After you get older and life has moved on, even memories can't explain what that whole wonderful  thing was all about.  Not to me.  But I don't need explanations.  Of course, at the time, for me it was perfect because I could do all kinds of nutty stuff and when someone asked me what was I doing, I could  say I was amusing Marsha.  I just luxuriated in it.  And Marsha, she would always say stuff that very often got me out of trouble.  Like that time when Rae came back from shopping early and walked in when I was bouncing a big plastic balloon off of Marsha's head.  Rae gave one look and was in the middle of "What in the world are you doing?"  When this little thing, said, "When is it my turn Daddy?"  She just seemed to (me) always to be in magical mode and she kept me in the 'can't wait to get home stage'.  It got to be such a habit, it never wore off. Even after all the kids had left the coop.
Many, many times after Rae was asleep, I would look at her, to see that expression she always wore while she was sleeping.  It didn't matter how many years passed, I could always see in her sleeping face where all that magical stuff came from. 
So I never stopped running home. 
But this day I was downtown and Easter was coming up.  And in a large window of a store you could see these little chicks running around, on the floor of the window.  Oh wow!    How would,
a not yet 2 year old, Marsha react to an Easter Chick.  
Thoughtless me, I never considered anything else, except mentally marveling about Marsha with the chick.  So I went in.  They put one in a corrugated carrier with air holes and I went home with a  chick inside the box.  I don't remember much about what Rae said, except, "What the hell is that noise??"
Marsha is gonna visit Chickee
Well, if you don't remember, or you never had a chick, there were a lot of peep, peep, peeps and poop on the floor and after Marsha decided we were going to keep the chick, I insisted it would be me that cleaned up the poop.  The thing about that was, I was always away during the day and most times a lot of the early evening.  I don't remember ever seeing any poop on the floor, unless I caught the chick in the act.
So I suggested and we got a cardboard container.  I got a box and a single edged razor (no box cutters in those days) so I could slice most of the sides off high enough, you know,  so it would keep the chick inside.  Then I put some straw on the bottom.  That was Chickee's  home.  The whole thing was kept in the bathroom, up against the wall and under the dressing contraption.  And during the night we kept the bathroom door closed.
There was some minor glaring and stuff but it was nothing compared to the delight of watching Marsha and the chick.  And you could hardly hear the peeps from the bathroom during the night.  You know, hardly. . Well, days and days  passed, the chick kept getting bigger and Marsha, she insisted on helping to feed the chick and she even cleaned up a poop or two. And then, on this morning, I got up to go, I opened the bathroom door and I couldn't see the chick.  When I looked into the bathroom, after being careful with the door, she was not in the box and you could see she was not anyplace in the bathroom.  It didn't take long to look around the rest of the place and, nope, no chick anywhere.  
But, I did have to go and when I reentered the bathroom and went to the john, there was the chick.  In the john.   I hadn't realized, what with her flopping around and flapping her wings, that she could navigate to out of the box, let alone get as high as the edge of the john.  
Oh, my.  Oh my.  I quickly got a paper bag to put her in.  Don't ask me how I disposed of the bag.   Then I just got back into bed.  Sleep?  Forget about it.
When Marsha got up she shook me and said, "Daddy, where is Chickee? we can't find Chickee."  The best I could do was , "Did you ask your mother?  Did you look in the closet?  How bout the lower drawers in the dresser?"  Not there or any place else.  Chickee was gone alright.. 
So I sat down with Marsha, and said, 
"Marsha, did you notice Chickee was not a person?  You know, like you, and me, and mommy?  Or even Pop Pop?" Marsha had one of her patented, concerned, thoughtful expressions.  I continued, "Probably she went looking for her chick family so she could run around outside and not have to stay in our bathroom.  She must have gone to be with  her chick family.  Tell you what.  We are going to the beach in the summer.  When we drive down to go to the beach, in Atlantic City, we will have to pass a lot of chick families because Atlantic City is in New Jersey and that is where they have a lot of chick farms.  You remind me so I can show you some of the chick families and we  will look for Chickee." 
She sat there for a long time seemingly in thought.  Maybe more than a couple of minutes and then she got up and went over and asked Rae,
"Mommy, when we go to the beach can we go see chickee?"
 As for me, when I close my eyes, I can still see Marsha and Chickee together,  One of my best ideas, ever.

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Trump vs Coking . . . ('Hair' Overmatched)

Vera's 3 story Bldg. & Trump Plaza
The combination of gamblers, money, and the prospect of making money was just to much for the politicians in New Jersey, to resist.  So when casino gambling got on the ballot in New Jersey, one of the hottest spots to corral campaign volunteers was a practically new high-rise building near the boardwalk in Ventnor.  A city that abuts Atlantic City.  The high-rise building was the residence of senior citizens, high percentage voters, and many of its residents, who had fought hard to promote Affordable Housing for Seniors near the beach and boardwalk, lived in this hi- rise building.  They fought that struggle and they won it..  Now, the politicians swarmed all over the place like locusts.  They came in with danish sit downs, they came in with coffee klatches, they came in with  promises, and, well . . . what do you want to hear from a politician?  That time period, the time just before the election, it was lively and life was fun.  It was an enjoyable time to be a senior citizen in Atlantic City.  Hatchets were buried, new friends were made, and . . . . you had to be there.  The excitement of the election itself, the free stuff, bubbly too, the singing and the dancing on the boardwalk,  and the sheer joy  . . . . Especially after the election was over.  We won!! We won!!  We won!!  Oh my, oh my . . . . all over the place. You could not escape the frivolity (I think that's the right word). Boy oh boy.

Like most of our elections, this one was held on a Tuesday. 
The election is over, its not much more than a week later, when a senior lady resident of the Ventnor high-rise comes into the lobby with tears in her eyes.  Her lease is up 2 months following next month and the letter she was waving, it was her 30 day notice.  It told her, her lease would not be renewed. 
I don't like maudlin stuff so, if you are reading this, I won't bore you with lies poop, or true poop, or condo conversions,  or stories about 'politicians trying to get richer', lets just fast forward to the glitz making of Atlantic City, and the changing face of the Boardwalk . . .
The gold rush is on, hotels and motels have been built and new ones are starting all over the  place.  The 'White House Sub Shop' is flourishing and so  much money is being made that Trump has one of his strokes of genius.  He will build a Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City.  With such a super famous name, surely it will attract the tourists away from the other casino places . . . . ..
His real-estate acquisition agent suggests a particular property.  It was not the best site.  The best sites brought fantastic prices and were already sold.  It was not as big as he would have liked, but that will help him get it at a lower price.  And there is a  property next to the site, a 3 story apartment building that the guy who sold the property to him had tried  to buy himself, it was perfect for additional on-site parking.  And after all, who could resist the Trump charm.   Certainly not a little old lady.  Piece of cake.
All this is not new news. The lady, Vera Coking, became a local legend, folklore stuff.  One of the mildest things the 70 year old said about Trump, "If he's waiting for me to die, he has a long wait."   She did not like the Donald or the methods he used or that thing that sits on his head, or anything else named Trump. The years passed.  She became like a senior rock star in Atlantic City..  And, as I said, in an earlier post, "Trump in charge of a gambling casino?  No way.  Gambling interests know their business and they are brutal when it comes to 'in fighting'.  Up against them, he is a pussy.  He was in over his head."  At the time of the opening of Trump Plaza my friend Jerry was there.  He attended opening nite and he received what he considered one of his highest compliments ever.  He was ushered out of the casino, with some modest winnings, and told to never come back because they had his picture and he was not welcome at Trump Plaza.  "They think I'm a card counter", he said with what could only be described as 'glee'. 
Its a bird. Its a plane. Its The Donald's hair!!
I cant help it.  Right now I'm laughing.  Every time I think of it, I'm laughing.  Tears literally come into my eyes.  His phone call to me about being tossed out of Trump Plaza when  I lived in Ohio, is such a wonderful memory.  Jerry was such a gambling loser (sucker) that when he told one of the hotel owners of the casino where he did his gambling,  that his friend (meaning me) was coming for a  visit with him for a week or so, they sent one of their limos to the airport to get me and my lovely wife Rae. The airport is in Philadelphia.  Only sixty (60) miles away.  That's 120 miles both ways. They also used one of their limmos to take us back to the Philadelphia airport when we went back to Florida.  Jerry told them I gambled too, more magic  words, and everything became 'on the house'.  It may be my imagination but it seems to me that if you're the beneficiary of such largess, having fun is much easier.
Getting back to Vera and the underside of the birds-nest.  What we are dealing with here is the ultimate test of raw power.  Bristling little old lady vs. 'proud to be a mogul' guy with extraordinary hair and ambitions and very 'green' political connections .....
Remember, this is really happened stuff.  Talk about power, the city filed to acquire Vera's property by 'immanent domain'.  (A legal land grab  tactic to be used only in matters verifiably 'for the good of the community'.)  Get  the hell out of here!!!
But I'm not impressed with the Donald's connections.  After all it is Atlantic City which is in New Jersey.  Doing  stuff like that  in New Jersey is practically legal.  I guess Trump thought is was automatic.  But, even if it was legal or automatic that didn't stop it from being disgusting.  And evidently it didn't pass muster with others because Vera pulled another rabbit out of her hat and prevailed.  Figure this one out,  Trump came out second in a political legal dispute.  
Vera said the Donald 'was a maggot, a cockroach, and a crumb,' in that order.  I disagree, calling Trump a crumb, that's a little much. 
But everything changes and today, gambling in New Jersey is in a different situation.  Both  New York and Pennsylvania, each now has legalized gambling.  The high rollers from these states, who all went to the Las Vegas of the east, come less often.  Some stopped coming altogether.  As for Trump Plaza, it was not around for the early prosperity like the other hotels, and it is slated to close in September (2014) without a larger parking lot.  Trump is a genius???  He dosen't even know where our president was born.  Com on.  That GOP sound bite that was created just to make sure that racists voted.  You know how they do on Fox News.  But  the Donald, he still believes it.. 
Here is what I think about Donald Trump.  I can't explain Ivanna his first wife. Lovely lady.  Except she met him when he was young, you know, when he still had his first hair.  But all his other good looking babes, who came afterwards, who are drawn to him by the aura of money, or getting on TV shows, they must be afraid to tell him what they really think about that bird's nest.  I bet he wears that thing to bed. I really think he does. 
And, I also think that the line, the one the 'bad fairy' used in the Disney film, is the same as what the Donald says to his mirror, with 'fake hair jelly' in his  hand,  before he gets into bed.  If memory serves me  . . . It goes something like, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me,  who is the fairest one of all?"

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pee Poop

Care. Angels!
I experienced an unexpected need for care and a fast visit to the hospital.
All through my life there were tragic medical errors, that had negative effects on some of my dearest loved ones.  And these events happened in spite of the well meaning and well qualified medical people involved in the situations. 
As a result I am always wary when it comes to medical attention.  But truthfully I think its 'wanting a good outcome' that makes it difficult to not delegate decision making to others.  The fact is, people do shit.  Whether on purpose or not.  And most of the time, if its 'care givers' who are responsible, they do the poop because they get so used to doing the same thing, for what looks like the same condition, for many people.  Its so similar they often do not notice when 'this time', there may be  something different.   And the instance I'm talking about is what happened to me when I had to go to  the hospital.
Of course I'm not talking about those who do poop because they think it will help them become a decision maker.  That poop is done on purpose and it happens world wide and its part of the human condition.  Always was that way and always will be. 
When this started out, I didn't know it but I had an urinary infection and it resulted in my being almost completely disoriented. 
I was laying on my divan watching TV.   CSPAN had someone on who was being creative with the truth.  Reminding me of that Cruz guy from Texas who I believe is a nut and stupid on purpose.  Do you think guys like  Sen. Cruz would cheat to get good grades in school?  I do.  Wait a minute.  (Why is this kinda stuff getting through to me like this?)
I became aware that something unusual was happening, I reached over and picked up my phone to call my daughter . . .  and I couldn't do it.  Now, there's a shocker.  The physical part of getting the phone wasn't a problem.  I could reach it from the divan.  My cel phone was in my pocket.  My pocket was in my pants.  My pants were hanging up near the bed.  And I could think of lifting myself off of the divan, but I couldn't do it. What?
Well let me try calling again with my line phone.  Nope.  Cant do it.  Get out of here.  Try it again.  Nope.  My mind said, "Try counting to  25."  And my mind knew I was disoriented.  25?  Shit, anybody can count to 25.  Why would you even have to try it??  But, I could not get to eleven without going back to ten.  And I was aware of it.  And then I could make it to 25 if you don't count one or more back ups.  I actually thought I had passed away and it was just like it is in one of those heaven themed movie, movies.  I was on my way to visit with the man upstairs when this nutty stuff started happening.   
Wait a minute, anybody can dial a freakin phone.  Give me that thing.  Nope.  It felt like the first time I picked up an ipod.  I have one of those and I'm still not good with some stuff on it.  But now I'm getting scared. 
I know what I'll do, I'll dial 9.1.1.  Anybody can do that.  Right?  Wanna bet?  What the hell?  Dialing 9,1,1 doesn't do it.  Get the freak out of here.  What the hell am I doing wrong?  Everybody knows if you have an emergency you pick up a phone and dial 911.  That will get you the emergency response.  No it doesn't.  Not if you have to get a dial tone first.  And if you have a new tech walk-around phone, like I have, you have to push a button that indicates its ready, and then you can hear that the dial tone is dial toning.  That was what I was not doing.  (For the future, I can solve this problem.  Simple.  All walk- around phones should  have another way of turning on;  The number 9.)   That's just common sense.  Like James Carville always said or Ed Whitacre when he was explaining how he could do magical-like stuff in businesses he had no experience with.   But I don't expect businesses to spend the money to fix this problem because the scale of the problem is too small.   So forget it.  To hell with this problem, I never heard of it before now.  Back to what was happening  to me.  So?  What did I do?  Let me see, common sense.  I know, I thought, I'll just keep dialing 911 until it works.  Didn't work?  Then do it again.  And again.  What with dropping the damn phone a couple of times, a voice finally comes on and says, (I think)  are you calling 911?   Whooops!
I don't remember what I said.  But it was said very fast and included,  "I'm disoriented.  My front  door is open.  (I hadn't locked it yet.)  If somebody comes, tell them to just walk in, turn left and go into my bedroom.  (Get out of here, its a right turn.)  That's where I am."  She asked a lot of questions and I remember answering, yes, yes, yes, yes, or, no, no, no, no.. You know questions like "are you alone?"  That's one of the yes answers.   
I remember saying they're not here yet.  After I told her my address I thought  to myself, "She has my address, its probably on her screen."  That was me thinking.  In my mind.  Good.  I am still in it.  How did that get through the disorientation.  And then it seemed like a lot of people were in the house..  Next thing I remember is almost all complete disorientation and more disorientation with some small amounts of clear 'thinking' mixed in, and then, 'why the hell isn't somebody taking care of me.'  I know where I am.  I'm in the emergency ward at Mount Sinai.  Maybe, probably, they have some people here with more important stuff wrong with them and they'll get to the old fart in a minute.  Disorientation . . . ceilings . . . elevators . . . but I wouldn't bet on the elevators. 
Next thing.  I hear, "He hasn't passed any urine.  Yet."  Now this I positively remember.  I had finished my toiletries and I was ready for bed.  That was at the onset of this nonsense.  So I wasn't ready to pee, I had just peed.  And, I have a platelet problem that has to be considered.  So maybe . . . . . things  
slowed down  a bit, and then I heard 'catheter'.  "Wait a minute!!"

It hurts.   (Shutterstock)
I think I yelled it, "Don't you have to ask the patient on stuff like that."  Somebody said, "Yes."  "Good", I said, "NO CATHETER!! GOT IT?? NO CATHETER!!"  Next thing I remember, I'm awake.  The back of my hand hurts.  There is some kind of contraption  covering the back of my hand.  Its held on with scotch tape.  And, my pecker hurts!!  Shit, I look down, its hard to find the little guy, and the sheet or blanket or sheet blanket is all covered with blood stains.  I'm thinking, "If this was during the HIV scare the whole hospital would  be evacuated."  And not only that, the little guy, he is hurting like hell.  I must have moved while sleeping and caused the catheter to scrape and cause  blood to flow.  And now, I do have to go. 
I have a premonition; "This is not going to go well."  So cautiously, and I mean cautiously, I start to pee.  Omg.  Its pure blood.  At least it looks like pure blood thru the catheter.  And it hurts, hurts, hurts!  A nice looking nurse comes in.  She asks me how do I feel?  Her timing was perfect.    I say,  "Is this the way it should go?"  She says, "what are you talking about?"  I say, "Well, I came into the hospital completely disoriented and now, I am not only disoriented, I'm hurting like hell, and I'm peeing pure blood.  Is this on purpose?? 
First!  Get that catheter the hell out of there.  If you cant find it easily, just follow the yellow (brick) tube." 
"You're laughing and so am I.  But one of us is secretly crying and it ain't you.  So get that thing out of there.  The sooner the better,  and if you are going to do it, tell me first, so I  can close my eyes.  I certainly don't want to associate something as pretty as you with the pain in my pecker."  I'm still disoriented but I'm making sense.
Next thing I know the catheter is out.   I pee 2 more times and it looks a lot less red and then, suddenly;  ITS OVER.  The disorientation is gone!  My mind was clear. 
I got out of the bed and walked to the toilet.  My pee looked beautiful. (Just a little red)  I called the nurse  to tell her, and ask, "When is the doctor going to see me?"  And she says in the morning.  I say, "Well its all over, and I want to get the hell out of here as soon as possible.  How early do they let you out of here in the morning?"  She says, "You are scheduled for some tests in the morning.  A scan . . . . ."
"Hold it" I say, . . "No tests.  That means NO TESTS!!"  She is trying to protest and I say, "Look I am looking for ways to get out of here and you are looking for ways to keep me in here.  So forget it.  You have to get my permission, don't you?  Well, I aint disoriented and I'm not giving anybody any permission to do anything if there is not something indicating it should be done."  I'm astonished they paid any attention at all.  But thankfully, it was, over. 
As soon as I got  home I ate one of those new Brownie Bites that tastes like a 'Tasty-Cake' cup cake.  Tasted so good I thought,    
"Can't be good for me."
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Sunday, July 27, 2014


In a fast food check-out line with one of my tennis kids, I say to Victor, "Damn" Vic, I'm 4 cents short and I only have a $50.00 bill. (As a volunteer I ran a city authorized tennis program on Miami Beach.  (One of my stand out pupils, Tammy Encina, was featured in a two page center spread in the USTA monthly magazine.) Damn.  Do you have any change? " "Nope" "He says, "I don't have any money at all." An arm comes over my shoulder with a hand upside down, the finger tips coming to a point.  I put my hand underneath the finger tips which spread apart to let 4 pennies drop into my hand.  I turn and look.  Think of a slender, medium height black guy with unkempt whiskers who looks homeless.  "Thank you.  What's your name?" I ask.  He says, "John".  I say,   "John my name is Howard and this is Vic.  Very nice of you.  Thanks."
A coupla weeks later, John comes walking on the narrow walkway that cuts through the tennis center from 72nd street to 73rd street.  He looks smaller and skinnier than I remembered.
I see him and call out, "Hey John." He stops and looks at me while I walk over and ask, "What size shoes do you wear?" 
"My size is 8 & 1/2 but I wear any size." he says. 
I say, "well, I have some size 11 sneakers that are in pretty good shape.  Can you use them?"  "Sure." he says.   
"OK, I'll put them in my car.  Next time I see you, you can have them."
He starts staying in the park and the park kind of adopts him.  He is always polite, shows a quick wit and he is available to do stuff, if someone asks.  And he was always, always pleasant.  I might offer him a buck or so, which he always accepted with a certain grace considering, and I would always say something like,      " Now remember, this is not for food.  Not for food!  Got it.  Wine is OK, beer too or you know what you like, but no food."  He never had that surprised look again, the one he had the first time I said something dumb like that.
And then there was the time he went missing for about 8 days.  "John", I said when he showed up, "You didn't do something stupid like getting married or going to work did you?"
"No, no", he said,  "Don't worry,  I didn't take no job."
So he became kinda of a fixture. 
One time there was this kid who came running into the park.  You could see him through the uncovered high fence as he approached the gate. He looked like he was being chased.  John took a racket from a kid's bag, and handed it to the running kid.   He took it, without missing a step, and joined a doubles match, one court over, which was changing sides.  This made an odd man of one of the kids who had been playing. The odd guy slowly walked into the men's room as a policeman entered the park.. 
The policeman slowed down and then continued walking (and puffing) slowly down the path, scrutinizing all the kids.. He kept walking that way until he left the park through the exit gate on the 72nd street side.
Another day.  I'm talking to John and he tells me its his birthday on Saturday.  "No kidding," I say "How old are you going to be?"  "50", he says.  "50?" I ask?  "John" I say, "Wow, you don't look a day over 84". . . .  He never took offense at my smartass remarks.
Happy 50th John
On Saturday its drizzling a bit.  I go into the staff office and tell Darlene that its John's birthday. I ask if she will help me put some stuff together for a party.  She knows John and is very agreeable.  I go and come back from Publix with a chocolate cake, some candles, a few large bottles of pop, a bag of ice and bags of Doritos and Potato Chips and other like stuff and some paper plates and cups and . . . .
Back at the park I manage to get the stuff into the office unobserved and after we prepare everything I go and get John.  All the kids in the park gather and are watching.  Three of us pick up the card table with party stuff on it, carry it outside  and put it under the overhang and start singing,  "Happy birthday to you,  happy . . . . . ."
For a moment or two he doesn't get it .  We lite the 6 candles on the cake (1 for good luck, 1 for each 10 years.)  He doesn't know how to behave. We get him to make a wish and before we can say blow the candles out, he looks at me and I say, "Look John, its just a trick to get you to eat some food." 
He didn't cry or anything, but his eyes did look a little misty and then, he blew the candles out, with one pooff..

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Monday, July 14, 2014

LeBron. . . .A letter to:

3 Defenders??? Not enough!!!
(Thinking about LeBron evokes great memories.)
LeBron, except in sports, the childhood you reminisce about in your letter, that childhood ended when you left Cleveland.  It had nothing to do with the on court chemistry that happened in Miami. Having fun while playing basketball?  That ended for you too, when you left Miami.  Its all business now.  Hopefully things will come out the way you want them to now that you are back in Cleveland, but the odds are against you.  This may be hard for you to believe but there is a different world out there than the basketball one you lived in, especially the one you had with your Miami teammates. 
When you sat down with Dan Gilbert you were in over your head.  The real Gilbert was the one who revealed  himself when you left the Cavs.  That's was the real business world.  And I hope when you did sit down  to deal with him again, you  dealt with an understanding of who he was.  It looks like you might have done just that when you signed the kind of contract you can opt out of in the second year.  But watch your back.
That is such a hard thing for you to do by yourself, coming from a 4 year magical experience in front of adoring fans, with unbelievable teammates like Dwayne and Chris and the rest of the Heat.  The magic that happened, that wasn't you by yourself.  That was the whole team AND. . .That was Mickey Arison.  That was Pat Riley.  That was Eric Spoelstra. 
And the Shake?  That wasn't the Harlem Shake Lebron.  That was the Miami Shake.  And like so much of that other stuff, that was Miami.  You know what Miami's real nickname is; 'The Magic City'.  Wasn't your experience here, magic? 
What a wonderful experience we all had.  What a wonderful memory.
Look at me.  I'm in MIAMI !!!

Each time you watch the Miami Shake on the net you can see what all of us saw, the whole 40 to 50 million (and growing) of us viewers. Thank you for joining in with  us.  You did help increase the fun and I hope you can repeat generating that kind of memory.  I hope poop stays away from your door.  And  I  hope you win every game you play, on the floor and in life, except when your team is playing the Heat.
So here is what I have to say to you.  This time when you left, you left my team, the Heat.  And like the fans in Cleveland, I didn't like it, but here's the thing, its not so bad for me and Heat fans.  We can still do the Miami Shake and all the other Miami magic stuff.  But Cavs fans, they may have you back but they still live in Cleveland.  When you left the Cavs the fans were mad all right, but they also envied you.  To most of them, p
laying basketball as a  livelihood?  Living in Miami?  South Beach?  It can only be a dream.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

More lube needed!

I got my mobile phone bill today and it made me reach for my lube tube.

A few months ago I cancelled a mobile phone extra service charge that was on my monthly bill.  This should have reduced my monthly bill to $78.35.  Then my new bill came and it was for $99.75.  Because it says, if you can find where to look for it, it includes a ‘one time' charge of 21.40.  If you read the bill, the damn thing  says the charge is for 'discontinuing the service' and that the charge for the service included insurance in case I lost the gadget.  What???  At decision time for that service I thought the cost was a little excessive but I took it anyway.  Months later I find out if I lose the thing there’s a $150.00 deductible for a replacement.  What the hell is going on here?  Maybe they found out I listen to Fox News every once in a while.  You know, to get the sound bite of the day.  Do you think that's a good reason all this stuff is happening?  Did I make some kind of listener list?  I know Fox tells their listeners how to think, but not me.
Also spelled 'Stuff'
In the old days if your were late paying a bill you could just hide until you came up with the money.  Back when you could always find a pay phone.  People were so busy working they didn't have much time for phone gossip.  And the electric bill was a pittance.  Not like today. Today you need electricity to warm you, cool you, keep your gadgets charged, keep your food cold, keep your food hot, use it for your connection to the tv and the internet and all kinds of other things including shaving your legs.. We are all out of luck during hurricanes though.
But the biggest 'stuff' affecting bills today, is executive bonuses.  Today executives who make bonuses get a lot of their bonus money for figuring out stuff like screwing their customers.  They always charged interest for being late but now they have added a late fee which is just exorbitant interest camouflaged as a 'late fee'.  Guess who figured  out all of this 'stuff''.  Doesn't anybody realize the real reason for paying a bill late?  It's because you don't have money to pay the thing early.   And then, if they increase the amount owed, paying it is harder.  Where are they going with all this 'stuff'? 
When Charles Dickens was writing all those stories about mistreating kids and people who couldn't pay their bills, the actual people in the stories  lived in what was a debtors prison.  Mothers, fathers, whole families lived in prison.  That's what this 'stuff' reminds me of.  And you know what eventually happened to them? Everybody who couldn't  pay their bills became a felon.  They had so many criminals there wasn't enough jails. So they put the 'didn't-pay-your-bill' criminals on boats with real criminals and shipped the whole shebang to Australia. Yes , that's how they colonized  Australia.  Christopher Columbus was busy. Just thinking about that makes me seasick.  A Months long trip on the ocean and later, when they got there, they treated the aborigines like we treated  our Indians.  So, no matter who you are  you have to be careful.  You have to  watch out.  
If I take the night job . . .
If phone bills don't get paid, they will surely turn the damn thing off.  Zzzap!!! And worse, they will turn your internet off.  This is the worst because they also added another fee (to turn the internet back on) which is just another way of raising your need for a  lube tube.   They call this one a reconnection fee.  And it boils me when they look for the best football game or basketball game to turn the service off in the middle of.  That's diabolical.  These bonus people are really creative.  Put ways to make bonus money in front of them and anything can happen. 
And it seems like they always had a procedure to put 'stuff' on the bill that is hard to understand.  Like my one time charge or the AT&T bill.  I have never been able to figure out my AT&T bill.

Stop that.
And now the State of Florida can and does suspend your driving license if you don't pay certain bills.   So, you know what happens?  Right?  You get stopped because an officer wants to notify you the flap cover on you gas tank was not closed properly and it is sticking out.  If he checks you out, for whatever reason, your a goner.  Driving without a valid license makes you a felon, a natural enemy of the police.  He takes your license away from you and gives you a ticket for driving without a license. What the hell?  This is big lube tube stuff, underwear soiling lube stuff, and you ain't even home yet. 
So somehow you go home and of course you have to drive carefully.  You don't want to get stopped for jumping any traffic lights, or driving faster than 10 miles over the speed limit.  Impossible not to do stuff.  But, if you do get home, and the power is still on, and there is one beer left, it can cool you down a bit.  But the State is getting ready for you.  They are hearing ideas and plans which are coming from smooth talking lobbyists for private companies who's business is; building jails. 
I mean you are in big trouble.  Periodically you may have to go to court, where the judge adds penalties to the amount you owe for not paying up.  You can get  jail time just for not paying, like in olde England.  I'm  not researching this 'stuff' so it could be even  worse . . . .And your relatives and your friends, they stop taking phone calls from you . . . this is so much lube stuff you're gonna need more Clorox to wash your under shorts. 

What's the upshot?  For me?  I decided to pay the $20.40.

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