Monday, August 24, 2009

What's News

I passed this exam on June 27th with a fine score. The following week, I did the paperwork for the States of Virginia and Maryland, and the Securities and Exchange Commissions. The following week, my partner and I were asked to resign due to a lack of production. Since I wasn't allowed to solicit clients until registered, they were clearly after my partner. In Financial Services, the most heavily regulated industry in the country, you can't work unless you are working for a broker/dealer or an organization that looks like one that is registered with the S.E.C. Approximately 60% of the industry is now out on the street as a result of this "recession" as the World re-makes itself.

Then the wheels really started coming off the cart. We refinanced the house to bring expenses down. That stretched into three months, and we almost canceled at settlement when they handed us a bill for $909.00. I stopped the settlement and told them there would be no settlement if they thought I was going to come up with that kind of money. The guy doing the settlement wasn't from the mortgage broker, and could have cared less. The salesman wasn't there, so I grabbed a woman walking by who said that she had just arrived at work. I told her I didn't give a hit, the settlement was over if she didn't get someone in there immediately. The owner showed up in 5 minutes, and the bill went away. We settled, and I apologized voluntarily to the girl I terrorized.

A few weeks later, the parents of the twins I tutor came over with papers from their bank. They had a mortgage work out that you may have heard about in the news. What was eye opening was the mortgage they were given when they moved in. The local Methodist Church had bought the house over 20 years ago and their minister had lived there. We were friends with him, and he was a great neighbor. When he retired, the Church decided to sell the property. They used their own people in the Church. The housing decline had started and the only people who came to see the house was a Salvadorean couple who knocked on my door to ask if I knew anyone who spoke Spanish. The people next door to me are from El Salvador, so I hooked them up. The couple made an offer and the Church accepted it, and provided financing. Turns out the mortgage broker gave them a very sophisticate loan used for real estate investors who want to flip a house. It's a 5 year mortgage with a balloon that accelerates in prices every year. It started at $3000 a year, $4000 the next year, then $5000 and after 5 years, the entire mortgage is due. The couple thought they had a $3000 a month fixed rate 30 year mortgage. No one explained it to them at settlement in any language. I wonder who regulates mortgage brokers? My neighbors still don't understand balloons much less hybrid mortgages. Hopefully, they will end up in a nice fixed rate 30 year mortgage.

When things get really nuts, I hide out in Richmond at Wrenn and Elaine Spellbound's home. I typically go for a weekend. We go dancing, we eat, we go to the Hanover Tavern for Brunch, Wrenn and I go to Civil War fields, most notably Cold Harbor.....a completely cathartic weekend of mental health. Elaine was the last nudge saying, "you haven't posted in so long no one is going to remember you".

I haven't wanted to write about the things that have made me mad or the things that have made me so very sad. I had a third of my colon removed in May of 2007 when a diverticulum started bleeding. A diverticulum is when a cut develops in the wall of the intestine and it can fill or become a pocket. I was in the hospital for 17 days. I felt lucky to have escaped. One of these little goober can open and start bleeding, and the medical response is to cut either the diverticulum out during a colonoscopy, or remove the colon if they can locate the bleed. Last March 31, I was told to go to the emergency room because I was blocked up. There were no bowel sounds. The procedure is to first do a CT scan (think X ray) to make sure there is no blockage, then administer an enema. After waiting six (6) I was x-rayed and found to have no blockage. I volunteered to go home and self-administer the enema, as the emergency room's idea of an enema is a soap suds enema. I took Judy to McDonald's for a hamburger because she was starving. I got a stool softener the next day and have been self-administering them since.

And then I started fighting back with the hospital's billing staff. They like to call with an unknown number (they block you seeing their number) and leave a message to call Shady Grove Hospital Special Billing regarding case # xxxxxx. First, they wanted $1250. They raved and ranted about my insurance company. I asked them to wait and called the insurance company. The hospital hadn't submitted the bill. I asked the hospital when they were going to submit the bill to the insurance company? More ranting about the insurance company. I yelled at them that if they didn't submit the bill, they wouldn't get paid and to not call me back, and I hung up. They called me back a month later wanting their $100. I asked what $100? They told me I owed them $100. I told them that I didn't have a bill and I didn't pay bills I didn't have. I then said, if they sent a bill and if it was valid, I'd pay it, otherwise, don't call back. Two weeks later, we got a bill for $100 and paid it. Two weeks later, I got another call, and I ignored it. A month later, I got another call, and I called back a little later. I left a message, I paid your bill on June 12th and there is no reason for you to keep calling me. Have you ever heard of harassment? Three days later, I got a call and I was told they mis-posted my account. I asked for a supervisor. I told the supervisor that they had mis-posted my account and they should fix their own problems. She said that I had failed to put the account number on the payment. I told her that the payment was electronic and there was no place for an account number. She claimed that I had nine accounts. I told her that this wasn't my problem, why would she post money to an account with a zero balance. They were responsible for their systems, not me. They accept no responsiblity at all. I told her that I can't afford to waste my time coming to her hospital again and that I would tell the hospital administrator exactly that.

So last week was pretty bad when I found out that my friend Jack McGeorge had died of complications from open heart surgery. That was last Wednesday. I had planned to go to the funeral Sunday. Jack was four (4) years younger than me and very accomplished and well known. Early Saturday morning, I started bleeding internally. I called the doctor. She recommended I go to the emergency room, and let the hospitalist admit me. I told her I needed an alternative strategy. She told me to go onto a clear liquid diet and to lie down and take it easy. No chores. She went through my meds list, cancelled two meds, and told me if I kept bleeding I'd have to go to the hospital.

I have now lost about 4 pounds and I haven't eaten any food since Friday. I don't know if it is stress, anger, sadness or all of them. I think it best I didn't go to the hospital. By now, they would have wanted a colonoscopy. And you drink a gallon of Go-Lightly and leave the contents in a toxic waste barrel. If I'd have been in the hospital, I'd have taken that barrel to "Special Billing" and turned it over someone's desk by now. See, there's a happy ending!

I'm off to the doctor's to see if I can try eating. Have a nice day, I'll be back at you soon!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I have been studying for an exam for over four months now. I have been missing for over two weeks now, and I mean to tell you that I didn't realize how much stress I have been under. I have not gone to bed before 4:00 am until last night for weeks. No one passed this exam the first time I took it. This was the last time I was taking it, ever. Not that I put pressure on myself.

The exam is put together by lawyers from the staffs of all 50states "Administrators". They like putting on questions that are trick questions for other lawyers. The last few years, fewer and fewer people have passed this particular exam. It represents a secondary license, so you aren't necessarily denied a living, but if you serve communities in more than one state, it makes life simpler to pass the exam.

I expected to have an exam of 110 questions and 180 minutes to take it. I was scheduled to take the exam at 11:00 am in Bethesda. I arrived at 10:30 am. You check in with a picture ID and the official e mail designating you are assigned to this particular center at that time. Your picture is taken and a copy of your photo ID made and sent to the authority governing the exam you're taking as you certify that you are who you say you are and not taking the exam for another person. You empty your pockets into a tray and put the tray into a locker. No watches, no medic ID bracelet, (they did let me keep my belt and shoe laces), all pockets pulled inside out. No one is smiling, and everything is as serious as a heart attack.

I was seated at a computer, went through the tutorial, and was then informed that the exam was 110 questions but only 150 minutes, they had cut out 30 minutes. My allergies were raging and I started the exam, knowing that the washing machine could handle whatever went onto the shirt (no Kleenex allowed in the exam room). I never moved from the computer, wiping eyes and nose throughout, finishing the last question at the three minute warning as it flashed on the screen. The computer informed I had answered all of the questions, and invited me to review or exit. I exited. I was informed I would be notified of my score in 15 seconds, and I wiped my eyes to read the score, not breathing, needing a 70.

Suddenly the screen started scrolling up and I saw a 66, convinced I had failed, I sat back, but couldn't read. So I looked up and leaned forward. Then I saw the small word PASS, and I saw the dual scores 72% and 80%, then final score 72%.

I had killed the Hydra!

I took the OFFICIAL EXAMINATION SCRATCH PAPER and $3 calculator back to the front desk, and the guy at the front shook my hand. I was the first person in over a month to pass the S66 (the 66 on the screen) and that guy got a 70. He hadn't seen a 72 so far this year. I was given a notarized sheet printed from the computer, emptied the locker into my pockets, and floated out of the room, and left the building.

I went to the car, and called Judy from the car. I notified her at the top of my lungs on the phone that I passed. I noticed that my hands were shaking and I couldn't see or get the key into the ignition. Something about stress and adrenaline. I got the car started and headed home, talking to my wife. I think she was just as excited as I was. She decided to meet me at home. I called my brother-in-law and told him the good news. Then I thought I had better concentrate on driving the car because I had no idea how I had gotten that far.

When I got home, Judy had some pizza, and after hugging, kissing, etc., I scarffed some pizza, and fell asleep. I know I have missed a lot of funny, interesting things, but I am still racing along at a bazillion (bz.) miles per second. I'll be normal eventually. Until then, see you soon and, have a good day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chicken Dinner At The Morning Meeting

To finish the Grand Fey Blog Tour, we held a blind drawing of the names submitted to the blog's e mail address for an autographed coy of the blog.

The winner is Elaine Haley!! Congratulations Elaine, I hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I have. I return to studying for my exam on the 26th, and my return to normal blogging!

In the meantime, have a fabulous week!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Fey Blog Tour

The big day has finally arrived! Claudia H. Christian and "The Fey has arrived in Gaithersburg, something I have eagerly awaited. What follows is the result of my reading Claudia's marvelous book, and my interview of the author. She arrived in a black Cadillac Escalade limo with escorts, wearing a Christian Dior gown and Harry Winston diamonds, her blond hair perfect. I was in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. "I think I've lost my sense of humor, Claudia." And that's when she shot me.

Wait, I'm embellishing on the first chapter of the book. But please read on and find out what "The Fey" and Claudia are all about.

The Review

"The Fey" is a thriller featuring a heroine named Alex, who finds and vanquishes threats in the military establishment. En route, the reader gets to enjoy one of the most enjoyable suspense thrillers that winds its way through an enormous amount of information and twists and turns that are unexpected. The story starts with a surprise, and builds to the point where you cannot put the book down. It's worth buying the book to read how it ends.

There is considerable character development and plot development that takes place in "The Fey". These two processes intertwine to provide an intricacy that is wonderful to immerse yourself into. The sex is delicious and realistic. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.

The Interview

"The Fey" is a fascinating book, considering it's the first in a series. Is it the first chronologically, or is this like the Star Wars Series were you might be thinking of writing earlier material to explain Alex's earlier life?

The Fey is the first in a chronological series. Learning to Stand begins in the following March, after the Fey. Who I Am takes place the year after. I’m confident the rest of the series will continue in this manner.

There is an entire book about Alex, Max, and John completed. I draw from that book for vignettes in the Fey or side stories, but never intend to publish it. It’s fairly directionless. I wrote this book as a way to learn about the characters.

Can you tell us about any of the following "Fey" books?

There are two sequels in various stages of ‘done.’ Learning to Stand begins where the Fey left off. How will Alex pick up the pieces of her life and start over? Of course, there’s daring adventure and funny antics. Everyone in Alex’s world grows, adjusts, as they begin to take on the new challenge of moving forward.

Along with rip roaring action adventure, Who I Am is a deeply personal look at Alex, her family and friends. As the new team comes together, each person must come to terms with himself or herself.

The forth book, yet unnamed, find the new cohesive Fey team ready to take on whatever is given to them.

Through out each book, the mystery of who killed the original Fey team deepens and unravels. Each book is designed to provide the reader with a thrilling, exciting ride was well as a touching, heart warming story about people who do their best, fail miserably, and get up to try again.

I found the story quite interesting because it was so intricate. Why the military setting for a spy/intelligence/mystery novel? (Or was it because of the huge Air Force presence in the Colorado area???)

These characters are in the military because they are in the military. To me, these characters are separate entities with their own lives, issues, and identities. I experience them as fully formed individuals. Thus, I didn’t choose for them to be in the military, they just happen to be in the military. I see my job as an author as simply to write about them, their lives and their issues. I hope to be clear enough to follow Alex, her friends and family where she wants to go or has gone.

How much did your background as a therapist contribute to the novel? The intricacy and the twists are wonderful. I thoroughly agree with an earlier reviewer who said that this is a thinking person's book.

I have always been fascinated with how people work. I grew up in around a lot of severe mental illness. Non-mentally ill people were fascinating, alluring, and slightly strange to me. I have a set of skills – listening, compassion, focus, and interest – that led me to becoming a therapist.

I believe my fascination with people, and how they work, has led to a better understanding of what motivates these characters. My experience as a therapist taught me that “everyone has a story.” We get a little bit of everyone’s story, and perspective, in The Fey.

It’s a great compliment that you find the Fey to be a ‘thinking person’s book.’ I believe people are tired of the cookie cutter books and movies that are available now. I’m delighted when people enjoy the intricacies of real story telling and life.

Is Alex patterned after you?

No, Alex is her own person. She and I share similarities but only because I am her scribe. She is much more than I am – stronger, funnier, more grounded and tremendously capable.

Can I be a host for the next "Fey" book tour?

Of course, thank you for being willing to host me this time!

The Contest

Claudia, originator of Simply Kind Tuesdays, has kindly offered a signed copy of "The Fey" to the winner of a contest of my choosing. After considering various math challenges, I decided that I would hold a blind drawing of people who e mailed their full name and address to the by midnight EDT June 19th 2009. The drawing will be held the next day, and the winner announced, and their name and address forwarded to Claudia for processing please allow for shipping and handling.

The Discount

There are so many reasons you will want to buy this book. It is perfect for the beach, reading on the patio, ideal at the holidays, a superb surprise to just say something nice to someone you like. One of the things I really like is that you can just sit at your computer and send a gift to someone across the country and have Claudia sign a card for you.

Of course, you can only get that kind of personal service from Claudia's Store. The price there is as inexpensive as it gets, even if you go to that other bookstore named after a South American river.

And to sweeten the deal, readers of this blog will receive a discount of 10%, only at Claudia's Store, and that offer will be good until her next book in the series comes out! Just plug in the following code (It means Monty sent me):


but please remember, it only works at Claudia's Store.

Should you want to find out more about Claudia or "The Fey" simply click on the picture of "The Fey" book tour below and you can see more about the book, the store, Claudia, other sites that either have or will host "The Fey" and a wealth of other information. Any questions or comments will be answered by Claudia in the comments section, or by me if directed to me. As always, have a great day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Jerry Follow Up

Jerry is now home. He is now upset because they never could do the ablation. I have tried reasoning with Jerry that his new medication was working so well that the surgeons couldn't recreate his malfunction while inside his heart. Wasn't that dandy?

Jerry's worry is that his old medication failed suddenly, and he was lucky that he got to a hospital in time. He reasons that it's possible that he won't be as lucky the next time the new medication fails to be both near a hospital and able to get an ambulance so quickly. Both my brother-in-law and I have gently pointed out that he has based his reasoning on three assumptions, the medication failing, an ambulance not being available, and/or a hospital not being nearby. I pointed out that the odds of any one of them happening were worse than him getting hit by a car crossing the street. All three events happening, given that he had retired and didn't plan on traveling up the Amazon River, had a probability in the neighborhood of being hit by lightning.

I reminded Jerry he is going to teach me to make corned beef. In the meantime,I need to get serious about my exam on the 19th. And I need to clean the house. Because the "Fey Blog Tour" is coming Friday, the 12th! See you there. Have a great day.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Finally, Some Results

Jerry was transferred to Fairfax Hospital two days ago. They promptly took him off of his new cardiac medicaton so that during his operation the surgeons could duplicate the problem in his heart, and burn off the cells that were misfiring. Seems the meds were aimed at keeping the heart beating appropriately.

Skip to today and the circus that actually happened. Jerry was scheduled to go into surgery at 1:00 PM (1300 hours). He was prepped and as ready to go as possible. He was in the twilight from a pre-op shot. Nothing happened. We never found out if there was an emergency, or an operatin ran long, or the surgeons ran late at their golf game. Jerry was wheeled into surgery at 3:00 PM (1500 hours), still in the twilight zone, everyone else very much on edge, either answering or ignoring cell phones wanting to know if the surgery was over.

The surgeons estimated that it would take them anywhere from 1 to 6 hours to complete the operation. The problem was that Jerry had an extra heart beat when his heart malfunctions and it constituted a rarity. They were going to thread a camera and a laser from his groin to his heart and try to cause his hear to malfunction and spot the malfunctioning cells inside his heart and burn them off with the laser. Piece of cake.

In war, it is said that the battle plan goes into the toilet on the field and the troops fight the actual battle with their leaders. It appears the same thing happens to doctors. They do call it the 'practice' of medicine. Two and one half hours into the actual operation, the doctors couldn't re-create the heart malfunction with all the cameras and lasers inside the heart. They were impressed that the new medication, even after it was dis-continued two days earlier, was still effectively keeping Jerry's heart so well regulated. They decided to do no ablation, pulled out their hardware and sewed him up. We found out at 8:00 PM (2000 hours). I consider this a win for the existential fix.

Did you know that lawyers, CPAs, engineers, and newsletter writers need not reister with the state? One of the little facts I memorized in the hospital!

My thanks to Tiffany, who knows more about coronary ablation than you would imagine, and Mel, who knows how to tell you how to distract people who are a bit anxious because they think they are dying.

Please note on your calendar that "The Fey" by Claudia H. Christian will be here on it triumpant Blog Tour on June 12. It's an event you won't want to miss!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Just to let you know, I have been diverted from my normal routine. I started to write about Memorial Day over a week ago. It's not my most pleasant story as I was one of ten who was drafted out of a University as a test case for Viet Nam.

Then, a dear friend Jerry, who had a pacemaker put into his heart last December, suddenly fell ill earlier this week at lunch. He has been a close friend of Judy and her family since she was a teenager. Jerry was told to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance. He was rushed to Alexandria Hospital and his pacemaker went off in the ambulance. He was put under, and the doctors took a day and a half to get his heart restabilized. He is awake now.

Next week, Jerry will have a procedure done at Fairfax Hospital. It's called an ablasion. They are going to try to get the electrical signal working correctly to his heart. He is scared. The doctors have told him he can go home and report to Fairfax next Wednesday. He declined to leave the hospital. I'm not kidding when I tell you he's terrified.

My brother-in-law Lou and I will be spending a lot of time with Jerry. We both live more than an hour away both hospitals. On the other hand, when a friend needs you this bad, you go and you stay.

I hope you will forgive me if I disappear for a while. I need to study for an exam I must take by June 26th, Jerry is in serious shape as one needs a functioning heart to live, and I seem to be devoid of blogable thoughts. I am taking my books with me, and letting Jake bite me a couple of times before heading out into rush hour. See you as soon as I can! I hope all is well with you!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Post Party Depression

Last Friday, Judy and I drove to Richmond to visit Spellbound and her family. We had so much fun for the entire weekend that we are now suffering from post party depression. It is incredible that something we had looked forward to for so long has come and gone at the speed of light.

We got to know Spellbound's husband Wrenn, we met Brook from North Carolina and her husband Derek, along with her daughter Evelyn, and Judy got to meet M@ of Animalmind who drove in from Arlington. We comprised a core of bloggers who stayed at Spellbound's home for the weekend, and partyed.

Spellbound's daughter also had some friends over, and what ensued was one of the funniest, most entertaining evenings I have ever spent. I will post more about the party later, along with some pictures. This post is to let you know I/we are back and trying to return to normal after having had a fabulous vacation thanks to Spellbound and her enormous and tireless efforts, and our blog friends. I am very grateful.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A New Life Joins Us

This morning, there is simply wonderful news to share. Mel of Melsdream became a grandmother and has posted pictures of her brand new granddaughter on her blog. This is a gorgeous baby and you owe it to yourself to see her. It can't hurt to congradulate Mel either. If you think about it, none of this would have happened without her to begin with, but that's another story.

Cigars and chocolates at Mel's. Or at least a lot of celebration. A fun announcement!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Time Like The Present

This is Judy's last full week off, so she charged me with finding things that were fun to do on days she didn't attend physical therapy. That would be a day like today. You might think a movie, or a nice ride and a picnic. Judy decided that she and her older sister would go to the cemetery today instead. Some days, it's tough being a trophy husband. On the other hand, it gave me a few hours to be alone and enjoy myself.

Being alone is not being lonely. I got to trade the markets a little, listen to my music with my earphones, and re-listen when I felt like it. I even got some time on the Internet, which has been going down every evening, and dropping a lot during the day. What I mostly did was to think about friends who are having some problems.

A confluence of things have occurred. Mel has been writing a lot about people holding themself back, keeping themself from happiness. This has spurred memories of things I learned in school. People live on two levels, the intellectual and emotional levels. Connected to this was a discovery that people could know something, but suddenly have an epiphany when they actually understood what they had known or had learned. This has happened to me a few times. Once, when I realized that a professor had actually designed his seminar course to be an job enrichment program for the students and just had never told us, the realization left me speechless at lunch with a colleague for several hours. I just kept shaking my head, laughing and saying, "I don't believe I missed it and it was right in front of me."

We all live in an environment that is so full of stimuli that no one can perceive everything that's there. So we all selectively perceive what's there, through our own individual filters. We can take the stimuli there and derive happiness and joy from them, make lists of things that make us happy; or we can take different stimuli from the same environment and decide we are useless, worthless people, and find all kinds of justification from the past to support the contention. Another way to look at this is some people are choosing to be happy, and some aren't. Are we influenced in that decision by our emotional unconscious? You bet. Can we do something about that? You bet.

Look yourself in the mirror and start finding reasons why you like yourself, and tell yourself out loud those reasons. Daily. Be redundant. It's called positive affirmations. I like myself because I do kind things. I like myself because I saved a bee from Jake today (true). I like myself because I tell my wife I love her every day, and mean it. People like hearing this too it seems.

There's lots more. Here's what doesn't work. Hiding. Problems don't go away. Pretending there's nothing wrong. Same as hiding. If you need help, go get some. Really. But you need to work But it is so worth it. Imagine being happier. Here's what Mel wrote today:

"No matter what results you get, the only real failure is when you stop making the effort.

When you are mistaken, you can learn.
When you are knocked down, you can get back up.
When you find that you've veered off track, you can correct your direction.
When you discover that circumstances have changed, you can make adjustments.
What a shame it would be to stop just one effort short."

Now, I'm not Mel, I'm not going to start wearing heels and pantyhose, and I don't have a British accent, which I am sure are messy character flaws. I'm not a therapist, and I am not much different than the next person. But I laugh a lot. If you are one of my friends who are suffering from a lack of confidence, or know you are awesome at an intellectual level but not an emotional level, or think that you lead a boring life because you're so boring, or you can't be loved because the people who loved you left you; I'm here to say that I love you, and you don't have to change for me, nor lose weight for me, you're perfectly valid for me the way you are. Please validate yourself, because other people are wrong. There's no time like the present to start because life's a banquet and we don't want to starve. Come join me at the banquet table, please.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Have News

We went to the surgeon today. When Judy had her rotator cuff surgery, she had torn the entire rotator cuff, and the operation took approximately twice as long as was first estimated. They had to dissect a certain muscle, and there was some nerve damage in the process. This is known as "complex regional pain syndrome". In other words for us laypeople, her hand and entire arm hurt like hell. Still.

She reacts to this sort of like General Patton or Napoleon might. She simply seizes control of whatever area she is in and controls her environment to protect herself. Jake curls up next to her on her left side only. He only tries to bite her left hand. Jake may be a cat, but he's not suicidal.

The surgeon and her physical therapist decided that she should not go back to work for another 30 days and she should continue physical therapy through this period. At the end, she would be re-evaluated. Judy announced that she would be off for the next nine days, then return to work part time since her leave had run out, continue therapy, not drive, I would continue to chauffer her around, and they and her would re-evaluate in thirty days. Now I was part of the prescription. Actually, I have been part of the prescription since she tore the rotator cuff, but now it was formal.

The good news? The surgeon didn't object to her working part time from the house. We've been told by both the surgeon and the therapist that it will be August before she is pretty much pain free, and a year before she gets her range of motion back.

I have filed a motion with the General for a luxurious weekend in Richmond in mid May. By starting now, and discussing this everyday, I hope to get her to come with me. I offered her Tylenol PM and to let her sleep all the way down. Rejected. I have offered her an alternative route, down route 301 to Richmond, instead of down Interstate 95 to Richmond. The General immediately countered with "can you find an interior route instead of going toward the coast?" I guess she's worried about her tank sinking into the ocean I must remember that Hanibal preferred the overland route with his elephants. And that's why we studied history....

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The Susan Boyle video on YouTube:

Susan Boyle is a 47 year old woman in England who spent her life taking care of her mother. I would have embeded the video, but YouTube won't allow it. You really must go see this phenomenon. An entire packed theater is against this woman. Until the third note she sings..... I have never seen Simon Cowel smile before. Adam Lambert wishes he had her voice. She has performed once, and become a world-wide item.

There is a moral to this story. If you give up on your hopes and dreams for yourself, you have only yourself to blame for it. If you haven't watched the video, please do so now.

Mel wrote the following this morning (Thursday):

"What are you telling yourself that's holding you back?
What are you telling yourself that's preventing you from being happy?
What are you telling yourself that gives you permission to be less than your very best?
What are you telling yourself that gives you an excuse for not taking action?

Every moment of every day you're interpreting the world for yourself, telling yourself what it means and what to do about it.
Each time you tell yourself something, you have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on your life.
So tell yourself yes.
Tell yourself that you can choose a life of joy and fulfillment right now.
Tell yourself that you're fully capable of whatever you decide to achieve today....."

Mel says it so much better than anyone I know. What I can't explain is her amazing timing. She wrote this at the same time this amazing success story hit the world scene. I don't know how she does it, but she does it all the time. If you succeed at fullfilling a life's goal, doing something you have always dreamed, you an thank Mel for her words. Now I have to go figure out how to hit an L sharp on the piano. Have a good day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Latest Ringtone

I have a wife-certified and approved girlfriend named Susan. Susan and I talk a lot on the phone. Often, Susan talks to Judy and I on the speaker together, and the result is generally hilarious. I decided I wanted to pick a new and different ringtone so I'd always know when Susan was calling, as opposed to anyone else.

Picking the absolutely best possible ringtone takes time, effort, and is a worthy endeavor. Susan loves music. She loves lyrics, so she is a Leonard Cohen fan. You know, the guy who wrote "Hallelujah", etc. But more than anyone else, I am the one who will hear the ringtone. Below is what is written about Beethoven's "Fur Elsie" and the entire piano solo itself. I wonder what you would have picked?
"Für Elise" (German for "For Elise") is the popular name of the bagatelle in A minor WoO 59, marked poco moto, a piece of music for solo piano by Ludwig van Beethoven(1770-1827), dated 27 April 1810.

Beethoven scholars are not entirely certain who "Elise" was. The most reasonable theory is that Beethoven originally titled his work "Für Therese", Therese being Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza (1792-1851), whom Beethoven intended to marry in 1810 and was also one of his students. However, she declined Beethoven's proposal. In 1816 Therese, who was the daughter of the Viennese merchant Jacob Malfatti von Rohrenbach (1769-1829), married the Austrian nobleman and state official Wilhelm von Droßdik (1771-1859)[1] Another theory is that 'Elise' was used to describe a sweetheart during Beethoven's time. If this is true, then the piece is dedicated to sweethearts in general, with no specific person in mind. However this theory is unlikely because it doesn't fit well with Beethoven's composing and dedication history. When the work was published in 1865, the discoverer of the piece, Ludwig Nohl, mistranscribed the illegible title as "Für Elise". The autograph is lost.
Category: Music

Tags: ludwig van beethoven fur elise classical music URL

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I Ask You Once Again

My dear friend Carrie (Echomouse) lost her beloved cat Teddy to cancer on Monday. For those of you who live with an animal, who have made it a part of your life, you know that she has lost a family member, and is suffering enormously. For those of you who have never had the experience, I can never explain to you the pain and suffering Carrie is going through.

If you choose to read the memorial she has written to Teddy, you will get a glimmer of understanding. I am asking that you go to her blog, and leave your condolences. That is all. Having been in her position before, I can tell you that it helps to get comfort from everywhere because everything seems terribly unfair.

If the blogosphere is to have real meaning, we need to tend to our own. Compassion is essential in the blogosphere for without it we truly undermine the vitality we try to nurture.

If you are a lurker, please go to Carrie's blog, and simply offer your condolences, I won't hastle you to comment here.

Thank you for doing this, from the bottom of my heart!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Quick Note

I had a close call last week. I was told to report to the emergency room as my family doctor couldn't hear any 'bowel sounds' when he examined me. The range of options ranged from exploratory surgery to a soap suds enema. I wanted to go home and finish the chopped liver so that Jake didn't get to finish it while I was laying in the hospital. I won.

I'll write it up as soon as it's a little easier to sit and write. Part of my reason to wait this long to write anything is the London Burlesque Fest was last weekend. Many of you voted to help Glamourpuss get into the newcomer's competition. She went on first, and came in third for all UK competitors. The back story is she was operated on about a week before to see if she had cancer, which she thankfully doesn't. I waited for her to publish her account before I wrote this up. It just an amazing example of having some faith in yourself and seeing things through when the going gets tough. She deserves you congratulations after having received your support.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Unbelievable Day

When I was a 16 year old kid, I wasn't so sure that I would ever find the 'right' woman for me. This may sound strange coming from someone who has been married since two days before recorded history began, but it is absolutely true.

I used to go outside and talk to my one true love, wherever she was. I had to be outside because walls would obviously weaken the telepathic signals I was putting out, and since it was clear that I had no idea where she was, there was no need to put impediments in the way. I also had the problem that I didn't know if I was going to have to wait a really long time because she wasn't born yet. I had an extremely high confidence level that she was going to be a she. I had no idea what nationality she was going to be, what race, what religion.....just her sex, and that she was a redhead with great legs. For you quants out there, given every girl (woman) I knew, linear programming showed I couldn't solve simultaneous equations and produce any meaningful results. To the rest of you, I didn't have squat. That does not mean that I am not persistent. I talked to her for a long time, and she laughed at all of my jokes, even the stupid ones. All of my truly great relationships are based in humor.

Tonight I got a phone call at 6:00 pm from a woman named Susan I had known from when I was a teenager. I had known her for years. We were friends. She had known my grandmother, my parents, I had known her sister, her parents. She had gone to Boston College, I went to both of her weddings, that kind of close. Tonight, we caught up. I was on the phone for over an hour and a half. There was laughing, crying, and a lot of stories told. I am so flooded with memories that I have been having trouble writing this.

After I am through posting this, I am going to go outside, even though it's raining, and I'm going to have to explain all of this to my girlfriend, wherever she is, and maybe I better tell her about Judy. I'd hate for her to be surprised whenever she shows up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Twitter Pays Off

I was discussing dinner with Chef Brook, who offers up multiple dishes on her blog, when I explained that I had made a pot of chicken soup last week and frozen multiple bags of servings for this week in an attempt to "Think Like Brook". Then it dawned on me. Her last post had her going to PF Chang's for dinner and bringing home leftovers.

I talked about egg rolls and sushi and all of Judy's favorite Chinese foods on the way home from Physical Therapy. She went to sleep while I took Jake to the vet for his feline leukemia shots (requiring hand-to-hand combat to get him into the carrier). When I got home and released Jake, I was talking on the phone outside (so I wouldn't wake her) to one of my all-time favorite wife-certified girlfriends (means Judy likes her too) when Judy came outside with a menu from our favorite Chinese restaurant. She wanted to know what kind of sushi I wanted when she ordered dinner. So I am writing this post instead of making dinner.

If my haircut didn't look line Ben Bernanke's, I'd have ordered Ruby Red hair coloring by now so I could look a little more like Brook.

Friday, March 13, 2009

To Bring You Up To Date

Judy started physical therapy this week, and things are moving slowly. She goes three times a week. She has my old therapist, Bret, who is a wonder worker. I know you think I go to Tiffany, Ace Physical Therapist, but she lives and works too far away for an easy commute, or I'd be there a lot more. She has this dog and two cats, and great stuff to snack on, and this boyfriend....but I digress.

I have apparently made my back a lot worse. Bret saw me walking and gently suggested that we start family therapy. I asked about group rates. He's still laughing, I wasn't. Oh well, I'll wait, Judy needs her arm back. I'll post as I can.

Spellbound of WordsonWaking wrote a really splendid piece on her wedding anniversary yesterday (Happy Anniversary, and to many better dinners!) and she gives more insight into the drama and insanity that accompanies every wedding I know of (including mine). Spellbound is a woman I have become friends with because of her prodigious intellect, and her warm and sharing nature. It is all on display in this post.

Have a great weekend, I'll talk to you soon!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Simply Kind Tuesdays

OK, I got the picture, "The Morning Meeting" is coming out Tuesday evening. It's all Claudia H. Christian of On A Limb With Claudia's fault, not mine. Let me be clear here, I am not accepting any responsibility here, this is all Claudia's thing, she is a really kind person. If you have never read her blog, you should try it. This Tuesday's post was on why it was so difficult to be kind. She mentioned a koala bear baby that was abandoned by its mother after a fire in Australia. She had me right there. I really aggravate over what has happened to animals at the hands of some humans.

I know several people who are actively involved in rescuing animals. If you read this blog you may have noticed me mentioning my good friend, buddy, pal Tiffany, ace Physical Therapist. She is the one who is running the silent auction for Heartland Horse Heroes whose mission is to provide and support equestrian activities for individuals who have mental, physical, emotional, social challenges or learning disabling conditions. She also rescues dogs and cats on a regular basis and finds homes for the animals after getting them healthy.

Judy works with a guy named John who lives in Bethesda, and regularly has several families of mothers and kittens in his house. I give him money when I see him, beside the shelter that 5 minutes from the house. This doesn't make me kind, it makes me charitable.

If you really want to see kindness, below are some pictures from a woman who is a professional photographer in Philadelphia named Melissa McDaniel. You can see her name in the photos I took from her blog, The Photo Book Projects

Please understand, I don't know this woman, and she doesn't know me. She photographs rescue dogs, dogs that are deaf, rescued dogs, and more. It is well worth reading her blog. One of the things she wrote was "I'm a photographer, traveler, and writer with an animal rescue problem...". That wasn't on her blog, but you get the idea. She also donates 20% of her earnings to the small shelters who need the money the most, as she explains.

You should easily be able to tell the difference between her photographs and mine. I haven't photographed a dog since the last time I visited Tiffany in May of '08. I think Pooh King and I were trying to share a piece of bacon.

If you look into the eyes of the dog above, you know that it is a sentient being that deserves a great home with enormous amounts of love. If you read my good buddy, friend, pal Heather's blog The Phoenix Hearse, you will run into her dog Laney, a beautiful Great Dane who could put his paws on my shoulders and explain to me what kind of treats he expected. The two of them have an incredibly close relationship.

Jake came from the Last Chance Shelter, and so did Grace. If or when you're thinking of living with an animal, think of rescuing an animal from a shelter. Go read about shelter animals at Melissa McDaniel's site. Learn a little about kindness from Claudia, who seems to know some of the most incredible people. Meanwhile, Jake has learn how to unplug electric cords from the wall. I'd better get this posted.

Have a great day. And try to be kind, whether it's Tuesday or not. And if you are, let Claudia know, please.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Jake heard Judy and I talking about the big snow storm, got excited and came out of hiding to see what the big deal was all about. He is definitely a very curious cat and has to be in the middle of EVERYTHING. And I have more dishes to wash. I have got to keep those cabinent doors closed.

We all went to the front door and saw the following:

If you look at the picture above, you'll notice that you can't see the street. This was at 8:00 am. We only had about 3 inches at that time. We're expecting 6 inches before the day is over, in fact, by lunchtime. The photo below is the house across the street. You can't see the hawk flying in the trees behind it which has just caught a smaller bird to take back to feed her family. Nature at work. You'd almost think this was Iowa, maybe if we had a small river?

There is another issue I'd like to bring up that I read yesterday. My good friend, buddy, pal Brook wrote of an experience of sexual abuse that happened to her as a young teenager. It's one of those issues that needs to be heard by as many people as possible. I urge you to go to her site and read her story, and support her.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Am Pleased To Report

I took Judy to the surgeon yesterday and he changed the dressing. He says she can shower, with some help (I am available) and she can start rotating her arm if she bends over and hangs it straight down. The idea is to prevent a frozen shoulder. She starts physical therapy next week.

Earlier today< she complained that her arm itched, so I gave her a Benedryl. She was worried about the adverse drug reactions as she is very susceptible to the 1%. Then she told me that she thought that with the pain, she thought she'd never laugh again. Then both the vicadin and the benedryl kicked in and she was amazed that she didn't itch anymore. She looked at me with amazement, and I told her that she shouldn't get too upset, but she was having a 1% reaction to the benedryl. She started turning grey, and I told her that her face had fallen off. She almost doubled over laughing. It appears I'm good for something besides cooking around here. I used to think I was just another trophy husband.

I took a picture of her sitting on the couch, but she won't let me publish it. She had her hair cut very short because she couldn't take care of it one handed. I have been threatened if I attempt to publish the smiling picture I took after her laughing fit.

I have been going to sleep sometime between 5 and 6 am and getting up between 2 and 3 pm, so if I haven't made it to your blog, or commented here on my own, my apologies. I have put my life on hold for a while, but I anticipate things returning to normal some time soon.

Please take a look at Wandering Girl's Site (Tiffany the Wonder Physical Therapist). She needs a hand with a worthy non-profit institution she volunteers on the Board of Directors at, and could use some help. I'd appreciate whatever you can do for her. She needs some items for a silent auction, or money.

See you soon, and have a great day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

VICTORY on W. Gude Drive

Judy is sound asleep in the recliner as I sit here writing this. We're home, and I have been asleep for three hours, enough to function for a while.

We got to the surgical center at 6:30 am. The center opens at 6:30 am. She was taken back to the Prep Room at 7:00 am while I was doing her paper work, since she can't use her right hand. I asked when I could go back, and at 7:30 am they let me go back to see her. She had refused a nerve block from her neck to her right shoulder. It was like one of those TV commercials for post nasal drip, where the side effects could kill you. She made an "informed decision" to not take the nerve block.

I met the assistant surgeon, which surprised me. I didn't know that the operation would require a second surgeon. No comment was made. Then the anaesthesiologist came in, and talked to Judy as she put on her mask. She could care less that I was there. And finally, Dan Lahr came in, and drew a large box on her right shoulder and put his initials in it. He gave me a prescription for percocette and told me to go fill it because she was going to be in a lot of pain without the nerve block. Great. He told me that the surgery portion would be about 1 1/2 hours and recovery about 1/2 hour.

I took Judy's first team leader and now our friend, who had come to sit with me through the ordeal, to breakfast (I got us fancy French Toast and bacon at her request because I am also a wonderful date!) but couldn't finish. I got the prescription filled and we went back. And we waited, And waited. Then, the deputy surgeon came out and assured me she was fine. Surgery had taken 2 1/2 hours. A tidal wave of emotion sort of washed all over me, and I called her brother. Then Dan the Man came out in his scrubs. Now came the detail. The tear was huge, but he got it back together easily. It was much bigger than the MRI showed, enormously bigger. And she is going to hurt a lot because she didn't get the nerve block, but it turned out to be a very successful operation. And we're getting sushi soon. Recovery would take an hour and a half.

My G-d is an awesome G-d. We both made it.

After we got her home, and I made her something to eat, and the pain started to subside, after four shots of morphine and two percocettes and two vicodins at the surgical center finally all kicked in and worked on the pain, I gave her chicken salad and Coke Zero and some rice crackers. I made Annissa lunch, played with Jake, who was frenzied, and then called her sister to come over so I could get a little sleep. I got three hours.

She has to sleep in the recliner, and I have to sleep on the couch because she can't lower the feet by herself, the lever being on the right side. She can't sleep with her feet down. The first 72 hours are critical. So, here's one of those situations where you just have to man up. No problem. Things will straighten back up next week or so sometime. Small price to pay. No big deal.

And I made an error. Tiffany isn't engaged, which means I still have a chance, which is a good thing. Judy and I need a wife, and what would be better than a wife who was also a terrific Physical Therapist? And Tiffany is so lovable too. Sorry Tiffany. Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Surgery Day - Time To Man Up

This is Dr. Dan Lahr, the Orthopedic Surgeon who is going to operate on Judy in the morning. He did his residency at Duke, and lives about 20 minutes from here. He and I also have gone out for sushi because neither of our wives likes sushi. When he was in college, he went on an athletic scholarship as an offensive tackle to Colgate University. In his spare time, he loves to push me around the office, me the ex-quarterback. Trust me, I push back, he's just that much bigger than me. He also fixed my broken humerus (the big bone between the elbow and the shoulder which I snapped in two in a fall) on my left arm.

I'm not worried about Dan, it's the anastheiologist I'm worried about.

Statistically, more people die in an operating room because of the anesthesiologist than the surgeon. I take little comfort in knowing this fact. Time to check with Super Physical Therapist Tiffany, purveor of all things medical. She says to trust the surgeon because he wouldn't work with a bum anasthesiologist. Excellent logic. I let Tiffany go as she is needed as Catwoman in a Batman and Robin escapade with PB and the Force, her fiance and his son, both wonderful people.

Then, I took her to our favorite steak house for dinner with our favorite waiter. He even cut her prime rib with roasted galic for her. That's a waiter! After dinner, it was home to watch some TV before bed. The later it got, the more nervous she got. She was too nervous to sleep, which made me nervous.

So I tried to bargain with G-d. I simply aid this. I really want her back. But if your plan really needs someone, let it be me. Take me right there in the waiting room. But you should be really fast because I'll be surrounded by all these medical people that think they can save anyone, so you won't have a lot of time, so please, be quick.

Given that, when all is said and done, I'll let you know what happened.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jake Meets The Blogosphere

I am Jakenstein and I rule the known Universe. Just ask me. I am doing this because Monty says there are a few friends of his who want to see me, like a lady name Brook and Eris and maybe Elaine and Mel. Monty says that they all are redheads, and so am I, which makes them all good people in my book, and that's the book that counts. I'm also hoping for the Puss, because I have my own pole I dance on too!

I live with Monty and Judy. Monty ays I am having a problem with an Oedipal Complex and that I'll outgrow it. I say that one day he'll just finally give up and accept the inevitable. Monty has the scars to prove my point. Besides, Judy thinks I'm gorgeous. When Monty and I are battling, he calls me Numb Nuts. I have no idea why. Judy says I was fixed before I was six weeks old. One day someone will explain that to me, in the meantime, I have a little more strategy to go before I take over the house completely.

I was such a blue eyed sweet heart when I first arrived. Little did anyone know what was coming.

I am really a Marine. Three pounds of coiled fury waiting to be called up.

I ceaselessly practice one of my favorite tactics with Monty called 'attack the hand'. t also helps keep my teeth sharp. I am just as good on Monty's feet.

And like any good Marine, I can salute properly even when I'm sleeping. But when I am not being Tom Terriffic, I am best at playing Dr. Destructo, as you will see.

This is Monty's computer I am lying under. He thought it was cute and took a picture. While he was putting the camera away, I stood up, and dumped the compter on the floor. And knocked all the papers all over the floor along with the Diet Coke all over the papers. And when I jumped on the keyboard, I managed to change the fonts and the sizes. Monty didn't hear the computer fall since it hit the rug. Was he surprised. It took him a week to make the computer work right again. Good thing he has more than one.

I love chewing on that tree. I used to climb in it. Judy got scared when it would bend that it would break and skewer me. Both trees are now gone. Sometimes these humans are no fun at all.

I was waiting for Monty to get home hoping I could sneak out he door and get outside. I actually did it twice. He retaliated by taking me to the vet and having an electronic chip put in my neck. There are times Monty just does NOT fool around.

This is where I pole dance. I am actually about five plus feet off the ground. Monty built this little platform and put up this light for me so I could sort of sunbathe. Sometimes he can be so considerate. I can also sprint to the top and touch the eight foot ceiling. Damn I'm fast. And Monty says my nails are like ice axes. He ought to know.

This is Liz, Monty's sister-in-law. She retired from being a high muckity-muck at the Department of Energy. The guy in the background is Judy's brother, you can guess the rest. He retired from the Army and the State Department. Liz has long, dangling blond hair. Anything that dangles is a toy to me. Liz was more than willing so I preened her a little. She loves me. I bit him a couple of times. They have a parrot, they understood.

These are Monty's slippers. I have to admit, there not much that smells better than the smell of the inside of his slippers. I wish I could bottle that smell, I'd make a fortune. Channel has no idea what they are missing.

Monty took two portraits of me, the one above, #1, and the one below, #2 and I want to know which one you like best. Please let me know. By the way, I'm 7 1/2 pounds now and growing, though I'll never grow to the size of my feet. Something about being 'fixed' so young.

Well, it may be a while before you hear from Monty again. He is taking Judy into surgery on Thursday morning and he's a little nervous. As he explains it, he wouldn't be as worried if he was going into surgery, but its Judy, and that worries him. That and he is probably going to fold his business, and he hasn't figured out hat he's going to do next. He claims that the day of the cat cowboy has gone and that they aren't hiring bank tellers at the moment. I think I'll go see what Mel has written today. See you all soonest.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'd Like To Thank You For Your Help

I got this letter from Glamourpuss and felt you should read it too.

Subject: Sincere Thanks
Just to let you all know, thanks to your votes, I made it through and will be performing at the Newcomer's contest at this year's London Burlesque Festival. Quite literally, I could not have done it without you; thank you, sincerely.
Glory xx

As the person who solicited your vote, I also thank you for having taken the time to help someone else out along their chosen path. It can only be a better World when we take a moment to do an act of kindness for someone we don't know. I am appreciative, and the results are most gratifying! Thank you again!


Friday, February 06, 2009

On Life and Death

On Feb. 5, 2007, my 37 year old nephew Jake died of a heart attack in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. A few years earlier, my 12 year old great niece Rebecca died of an adverse drug reaction to a medication. Last year, James Burnett of the Miami Herald and his wife lost a baby during pregnancy. Mel lost a dear, close friend and associate this week and is dealing with the loss, and showing me the way, slowly and painfully. This list could go on.

James wrote a column to friends who had just lost a child and described to them some of the things that would happen, the grief, the thousand well meaning questions that would all be the same. The inability to provide comfort to each other, and the need for time to pass, and the healing that would come. But the memories remain, as they should.

Mel, in an amazingly precise style that takes complex subjects and reduces them to simplicity states in a single sentence a truth so obvious about a topic that you wonder why you never realized precisely what she said before. She will flesh things out for you and leave you with a clear realization. These little paragraphs she calls the 'reading fairies'. The other posts range from hilarious to practical to Mel being human. If I have never mentioned it before, I stand in awe of this woman. She teaches one to live by example.

Glamourpuss is a woman I have known for three or more years now. I met her when I first started blogging. Her father could have been mine. When I look at Puss and how much she has changed since she left teaching at the school she was at, and went to work and started pole dancing, I see someone who has shown me how to live. I am not saying it hasn't been easy for her, or a bed of roses, it has not been either. She has worked harder than most people I know and the result of her efforts are staring to pay off for her. She is another of my heroes.

Which brings me to Skinny Little Blond (she is now going by the name Skinny Little Sister as she has at least one Sister, Singleton). When I was in graduate school, I read so much existentialism I went through a dark period until I finally figured out that the existentialists didn't finish writing a book or a play (particularly Sartre) and then go out and cut their own throat. That was a revelation. Read Skinny and you'll read someone who seems to have mastered existentialism and writes it in everything she does, and then shows you how to live and find excitement in doing so. It doesn't matter if it's going for a ride in the fastest dragster in the county (and taking off your seatbelt as the car goes flying over a hill) or going to visit your brother for two weeks and staying for a few months and raising some hell. Skinny knows how to live.

And what provoked this post? My friend Spellbound who writes WordsOnWaking. She wrote a post about having a night to herself and ended up talking about she wasn't worried about dying, it was making sure that she lived. A provacative issue isn't it?

Here's a reading fairy of Mel's to give you an idea:

"Resentments are the blocks that hold us back from loving others and ourselves.
Resentments do not punish the other person; they punish us.
They become barriers to feeling good and enjoying life.
They prevent us from being in harmony with the world.
Resentments are hardened chunks of anger.
They loosen up and dissolve with forgiveness and letting go.
Letting go of resentments does not mean we allow the other person to do anything to us that he or she wants.
It means we accept what happened in the past, and we set boundaries for the future.
We can let go of resentments and still have boundaries.
We try to see the good in the person or the good that ultimately evolved from whatever incident we feel resentful about.
We try to see our part.
Then we put the incident to rest

And last, but not least is Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". The actual German translation is 'Life is Wonderful'. When you realize that Beethoven wrote the entire 9th Symphony stone deaf, you can only begin to comprehend the amazing achievement he performed. It is so technically complex, and difficult that the Japanese honored him when designing the DVD by making the DVD large enough to hold a recoding of the entire 9th Symphony in his honor. Ode to Joy is about 3 and a half minutes long. Please enjoy, and end on a happier note.

I rest my case. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Am Asking For Your Help, Please

A close, dear friend who lives in Kent, England is embarking on a second career in burlesque and pole dancing. She teaches pole dancing and is quite adept at it and the gymnastics that accompany the endeavor. Burlesque is a venue to get paid for it, and to have a good time. As in any other profession, it takes more than just talent to break in. The London Burlesque Festival is just one of the best ways to do that.

All of the newcomers will be the same thing to win the on-line balloting. I hope you will join me in submitting a vote for Miss Glory Pearl. I appreciate your help. What may seem silly to you is actually very important to a dear friend and I hope you'll take the time to help out and send in a response. Please read her letter below, and I appreciate your help. Thank you in advance.

P.S. Please don't hesitate to life this post for your own site!


Dear friends, lovers, colleagues and betters

Miss Glory Pearl appears to have been shortlisted for the Newcomers Contest at this year’s London Burlesque Festival, a fact both daunting and deliciously exciting!

Sadly, there are limited places, and only those performers who make it through the online poll will get to perform at the Scala in London on April 3rd. This leaves Miss Pearl with no choice but to beg, plead and bat her eyelashes for your votes.

Details of the festival and all performers can be found here:

While my profile is here:

In order to vote, you need to complete the form pasted below – I have helpfully already filled in what I can for you ;-) – copy it into an email and send it, with the subject line 'LBF 2009 FEEDBACK' to this address:

The festival is an international one, so whatever charming corner of the globe you reside in, your vote will count.

There are many, many gorgeous and talented performers profiled on the website, so I hope that casting your votes isn’t too arduous a task; it is certainly very much appreciated, and with any luck, I’ll make it to the Scala.
Sincere thanks and sparkles in advance for your time.

With love

Glory xx



All Contenders are showcased from January 25th- Feb 5th at:




Please send returned forms by email to:


Deadline February 5th

In your own words please answer the following questions.

1- Have you attended any previous LBF or Chaz Royal events, if yes which event:

2- If yes please answer the following;

-Was it a pleasurable experience?

-What would you like to see more/less of at the event(s)?

3- Did you obtain this form from the LBF website or from a participating 'Contender'?

From a contender; Miss Glory Pearl

After reviewing all LBF 2009 Contenders, please list your favourite choices;

Top 5 International Performers:

Top 10 UK Headline & Features:
Top 10 UK Newbies:
1- Miss Glory Pearl

All bands, disc jockies & hosts listed at the LBF website will be selected separately.

Please list any additional feedback on the general organisation of LBF here:

We appreciate your feedback & will take all information into consideration while planning LBF 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stumping The Legal System

While everyone else was enjoying the Inauguration, I was in Court as a witness in a contempt trial between a divorced husband and wife. This is the third time I am testifying, but not the last. I generally end up wasting two days waiting to testify around 45 minutes.

Strangely enough, the actual testifying is much easier than the waiting. You see, I can't go into the courtroom until I'm called, and outside the courtroom is boring. The area has no magazines, no TV, but being up-to-date, there are two (2) pay phones at each end of the hallway. So you sit there waiting, doing nothing, until you're called to testify. Turns out, I was the last witness.

I was called to the stand, and the Judge greeted me as I made my way to the witness chair. I said, "Hi Judge" and smiled. This was our second time together and I really liked him. The attorney who called me to the stand asked me about 15 minutes of questions, some to the objection of the other lawyer. Then, the other lawyer took over and started her cross-examination.

First, she waived reading my background information. Then she asked me information about how the office ran. When I started talking about the economy, she objected as I hadn't been qualified as an expert. The judge over ruled her as she had waived reading my background. Then it got fun for me. There was an issue of a $22,000 note. Given assets of approximately $2,750,000 the first question was how much income could that generate. My immediate answer was $27,500 and then I pointed out that the broker wouldn't get that because the broker/dealer would have charges first and the broker would be lucky to get half. It's really a small margin business. Then I was asked how many more assets would be needed to pay off the note itself given the overhead, and I immediately responded another $2.2 million under the same assumptions if no salaries are paid.

The cross-examining lawyer and the judge couldn't believe I could do math that fast. I told the Judge that moving the decimal to the left was the same as multiply by .01 and moving it to the right by two decimals was the same as dividing by .01. While the lawyer was calculating, I leaned over, covered the microphone, and whispered to the Judge that I was no good at the Law, and that everyone had to be good at something, and he laughed. All things being equal, I tried to open an account with both the Judge and the cross-examining lawyer while testifying. The lawyer pointed out it would be a conflict of interest if they accepted. I pointed out how difficult the environment actually is for wealth managers today.

We need law in our society, it's important. It is not streamlined. I am not educated enough in the law to know if it works well or not. Legal reasoning is not logic. The law is rooted in English Common Law, which started as the Magna Charta, a contract between the King and his nobles as to what was allowed and not allowed by the King. This happened in 1215. As England grew, the King couldn't preside over the King's Court all over England, and Judges took his place, hence Judges are viewed as G-d as the King was.

I'd bet that a serf in 1215 understood the law a lot better than we do today. The original Magna Charta (there were something like 15 originals made and signed in Latin) along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution reside in the National Archives just a block off the Mall. Have a great weekend, I have a crazed kitten waiting to play!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The DC You Never Hear About

We live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. That was before the Secret Service started having their way in Washington, DC. When I used to commute downtown regularly, I had several contracts where the best way to and from the place where I was working was right by the White House. Not the Pennsylvania Avenue side, the other side on E Street.

What was unpredictable was when the President left to fly somewhere on Air Force One, or went to Camp David, he took a helicopter known as Marine One. The Secret Service considered it a matter of National Security to stop traffic on E Street in both directions until Marine One took off. You could easily wait 15-20 minutes, longer if someone needed to take a leak (the non-urological term). I still don't understand why they thought I could get off a better shot from a moving car than sitting under the helicopter waiting, but then I don't understand the Secret Service.

Then it happened. An embassy was bombed by a truck ramming it's way by the Marine guard station. Many concrete pylons have been poured and both Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street on either side of the White House were 'temporarily' closed to traffic. That was over a decade ago, and neither street has ever been re-opened.

Which brings us to modern day DC and the up-coming Inauguration. The Secret Service has really outdone itself this time. All roads into DC from the Beltway in are closed off to traffic. Below is the actual Virginia Department of Transportation Order:

2009 Presidential Inaugural Law Enforcement and
Public Safety Public Affairs Subcommittee Announces
Joint Transportation Plan

Virginia Vehicular Restrictions
All vehicular road restrictions will be coordinated between the Virginia
State Police, the
Virginia Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions. On January
20, 2009,
personal vehicles will not be permitted into Washington, D.C., from
􀂃 I-395 north will be closed to general traffic. As a result, northbound
I-95 traffic
will be diverted onto I-495 North (Inner Loop) or I-495/I-95 East (Outer
Loop) at
the Springfield interchange.
􀂃 Eastbound I-66 lanes east of the Capital Beltway/I-495 will be closed to
traffic. Eastbound traffic on I-66 will also be diverted onto I-495
􀂃 Only authorized vehicles – emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire
limos -
will be permitted on I-395 North and I-66 East within the Beltway.
􀂃 Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic only. No motor
vehicles will
be permitted to cross the bridges.
􀂃 Key Bridge is restricted to mass transit only
- 6 -
􀂃 Chain Bridge is restricted to authorized vehicles and mass transit only,
no charter
􀂃 The Woodrow Wilson and the American Legion bridges will have no traffic
􀂃 North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria City)
Reagan National Airport will be closed.

Not to mock anyone here, but why not just not let anyone attend the Innaugural?

In the event of an emergency (unspecified) the evacuation plan is that everyone will walk across the bridges to Virginia. And what about people who are emergency workers? How are they getting to work? G-d forbid someone goes into labor and needs to go to the hospital, or worse. We call these tiny implementation details.

I could go on, but then I'd have to tell you that the DC politicians want Obama to make his first Executive Order putting the DC license plate withe the slogan 'No Taxation Without Representation' back on the Presidential limosine. Bill Clinton had it on for his last month in office, and W had it removed. I'm kind of hoping for removing the restrictions on stem cell research that were imposed, not that I have an opinion, naturally. Whatever it is, let it be worthy.

You can learn more about DC by reading M@'s post today at why.i.hate.dc or learn to be a better person with Mel or do both!!! Have a great day, and if things are going bad, if you screw up, at least you don't work for the Secret Service.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Since we last spoke, Judy tore her rotator cuff in her right shoulder. MRI reveals about a three inch tear. Afterwards, she trips over a box outside the house falling on the sling first on the concrete. I see her going down head first and am yelling thinking she has a concussion or fractured skull since she doesn't picked up her head or make a sound. I am about to call the ambulance when she asks me to help her up, and she screams in pain. It's not a concussion.

We go back to the surgeon the next day. She has made the tear worse, and now has a hematoma (time to call ace physical therapist Tiffany for insights) on her leg, and souped-up Vicoden (she hates pain killers, but takes these, strangely enough because of extreme pain. When 6 pound Jakenstein walks on her leg to sit in her lap, she involuntarily screams, so she is taking the pain killers...for the cat). Gimpy has surgery Feb. 19.

Finally, I have found out that urology means that a big dude sticks the chromed tailpipe from a '32 Studebaker up your ass and takes a look around, and uses 80 psi of air to move things around if they get in the way. Getting older is a pain in the ass. Stay at age 40, refuse to grow up. I miss you all. See you soon. No pictures for this one either. More soon!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's 2009, hip hip hooray!

I had immediate dreams of winning a $384 bazillion lottery. With that much money, you build a compound, with a fantastic kitchen, I mean fantabulous, tons of counter space, walk in freezer, did I mention the personal chef that got hired? Then, I'd bring in Tiffany. I can afford to have the best in Physical Therapy, and she brings PB, an expert in Exercise Therapy with her. His son is still in Farmville (can you say Fahm vule). No problem, the G5 is parked 15 minutes away at the Gaithersburg FBO (that's fixed based operation or general operation airport). Also good for the quick trip to Toronto to see Echomouse on critical issues, like Teddy and the other cats, and the LBs, naturally. Very important.

Did I mention the heated swimming pool and custom gym in the lower area of one of the wings of the house?

Of course, even if I built two separate rooms as closet and shoe space for my wife, she would still need three quarters of my closet, wherever that closet was, for her clothes. I have empirical evidence, so please, I already know this. It's OK. In the new compound, I will have my own dressing room, with a retina lock on it.

Did I mention the exotic female vet who would live with us and the Persian girlfriend who would keep Jake company? Someone has to worry about a gourmet cat who thinks he should be fed pate everyday. He may have been fixed, but Jake has the non-stop energy to run day and night as it is, this is the time for a girlfriend, not when he's old and just wants to watch the birds playing football. I still run around with my girlfriend.

I'd also like a Lambourghini, and a 4 wheel drive Porsche Carrera. 

And I need a room with a 10 foot ceiling for a pole dancer, with a music system for the room. And a large room for tai chi and kung fu. And a green house, a fairly large one.

And several guest bedrooms, suites really. They could be more like a connecting house. What if Allan and Ali came with the kids? Each kid would need their own bedroom, and Allan and Ali deserve some privacy. And the master bedroom should have an immersion jacuzzi for 2 with a built-in whirl pool for relaxation. And each of the kid's rooms would need a separate bathroom, naturally. And you would need multiple internet connections in the guest house, because Allan takes so many pictures, you'd hate to have him run out of space. And the connecting tunnel to the main compund would be easy. It was 14 degrees out yesterday, and Allan is over 35. I'd hate to let something like bitter cold weather keep him from coming over for a nightcap. And worse, I can't wait to cook with Ali, she's way better than me, and I have this fabulous kitchen.......forget the professional chef for the time being. We're talking duck in it's own fat here.

The Meditating, Cogitating, Thinking Planning Room is where you go when, for example, Mel comes over and you want to sit with a couple of cups of coffee and reconcile existential philosophy with zen. Or decided if it's better to make snow angels in a six foot snow storm or a snow man. Or what the best thing to have with roasted chestnuts really might be. You know, the really critical things where you want to take your time and get things right.

The art work? By Franki, naturally. She's also my first choice to go get sushi with. I should try to see her again soon.

Then there's the scuba diving, and the compound in Costa Rica, funding the critical research in topics such as the best way to reheat french fries, but that the second multi-bazillion win, and I have yet to buy the first lottery ticket.

I guess I should resolve to just try to be a better person, and resolve to be here next year to write another New Years Day post. Have a great year everyone.