Wednesday, March 23, 2011

what are you, sick?.....

as mentioned in past blogs, during the course of my life, i have made a lot of friends. i don't hang out with all of them currently, because, let's face it, there's just not enough time. i stay in touch with many, through emails, phone calls and such, but my core group, these days, is a small circle of good friends in my day-to-day life.

if you remember the premise of this entire blogsite, it's that i'm old. as such, most of my friends are too. my circle ranges in age from about 48 to over 80, so each member of the group has been around in his own life, before intersecting mine, and each has his/her own stories to tell, not to mention, aches and pains. (ok, there's one who is 47, but we forgive him. ah sweet bird of youth!) lately, i've noticed something funny as i sit in conversations with most of them. we've all grown fond of exchanging what ails you stories, and it's almost become a contest to see who can use the best words in describing their particular condition. at a recent dinner party, the conversation went something like this:

me: hi.
friend 1: hi, how are you?
me: i'm good, thanks. you?
friend 1: i've had better days.
me: what's up?
friend 1: well, my back is out. i went to the chiropractor and he took an x-ray and informed that my discs are out of whack and that i have a subluxation.
me: a what?
friend 1: a subluxation. you know, when your discs are not straight and your spine is crooked.
me: oh, i see. good word, btw.

i'm thinking to myself, the game is on.

friend 2: i had that once. it took a while but my chiropractor took care of it and it healed.
me: i'm glad to hear that.
friend 2: but now i have a torn rotator cuff. doctor says i might need surgery.

rotator cuff? subluxation? shit, these guys are serious.

me: i'm sorry to hear that. does it hurt?
friend 2: sometimes.
friend 3: talk about hurt, i have a torn meniscus. hurts like a bastard.
me: can they do anything.
friend 3: we're looking into it. there are these great doctors in new york.
friend 2: i have some really great doctors.
friend 4: oh yeah? well, my docs are so great that they’re famous.
friend 3: my doctors are so good that you can’t even get an appointment with them.
me: well, good luck with that. keep me posted.

i mutter to myself, meniscus? wtf?? he's winning.

friend 2: btw, david, how are your feet?
me: oh, you mean my peripheral neuropathy? same as always, a huge pain in the....feet. and i chuckle. (i've just surged ahead).
friend 4: sorry about your feet. did you hear that jerry had a t.i.a. you know, a transient, ischemic attack.
me: really? is he ok? (shit, jerry's winning).
friend 4: yes, it was brief, but he's not drooling or anything. and with him, it's hard to tell if there's brain damage. (we all laugh mercilessly and without pity).
me: poor jerry. i'll have to go see him.
friend 4: me too, although i hate going over there. his partner lou, has c.o.p.d. you know chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. he wheezes like an old bellows organ. very disconcerting. (seems our compassion is a tad light here, and suddenly goddam lou is winning and he’s not even here.)
friend 2: You know? i had a subcutaneous hematoma once.

i think, damn, what's going on here?

friend 3: that's nothing, i had a pulmonary embolism.


And suddenly it was a free-for-all.....

non-hodgkins lymphoma, take that!
epstein-barr disease.
wait a minute. epstein-barr? hey, wasn't that back in the 90's? you can't use that one.
why not, i have it, so there!
oh yeah? herpes simplex. Take that.
i'll see your simplex and raise you a zoster, you know, shingles.
amateurs, macular degeneration,
Wusses. ok, i was saving this .....transdermal magnesium chloride therapy. beat that!

me: (thinking to myself), omg. i thought i had this wrapped up with the neuropathy, but apparently these guys want a real match. so i counter with,

me: did i ever tell you guys the story of the old cocaine days, when we were just a bunch of fools getting high, and one day my lips swelled up like a ubangi native with plates in them? it was weird. then, days later my tongue swelled up the size of a baseball and almost choked me in my sleep, finally it hit my genitals and my penis got huge! (i didn't really mind that one so much). but of course, when something attacks you down there you head to the doctor, so i did. he diagnosed it as.....(are you ready? game kicker here.....) angio-neurotic edema. it was kind of a temporary allergic condition of sorts, that lasts about six weeks and then stops. very mysterious at the time.
friend 1: really?
friend 2: angio what?
friend 3: when was this?
friend 4: listen, i gotta go.

suddenly i felt bad. i probably shouldn't have pulled that ace out of my pocket, but hey, it was a serious game. they're my friends, and they won't hold it against me. someone's gotta win, right? and tomorrow, i'll send emails inquiring about the various meniscii, rotator cuffs, and c.o.p.d. and of course the t.i.a. victim. we'll all gather again next month and play another round. by then, someone will come up with a doozy. i never thought our lives would come down to a rousing game of who's the sickest old man in the room? but the real question is, why am i trying so hard for it to be me? maybe I need psychoanalysis.
(ooh, good word. gotta save that one for next time).

Monday, March 14, 2011

erin go blah.....

remember groundhog day? how i couldn't just let it pass with an observation or two? well, happy st. patrick's day.

let's discuss.

you all know who he was, right? he was born in what was then, england in the 4th century, kidnapped as a boy to ireland, escaped, became a cleric, returned to ireland and used the shamrock with it's three leaf shape to teach christianity and especially the trinity to heathens, and essentially brought christianity to ireland. you did all know that right? well spoiler alert in reverse if you didn't.

i've always heard some stuff about his driving the snakes out of ireland. let's put this puppy to bed right now. first of all, ireland is an island, (that's not so easy to say. try it three times fast). it is separated from the land mass of europe so there are no snakes. nada. el zippo. so that's just a big fairy tale. (speaking of fairies, i'll get there in a minute). so there's no snake story involved, but a similar story is popular about a pied-piper and the rats of hamelin, but i digress.

over the centuries, the irish claimed him as their own, and celebrations began around the 17th century to commemorate him, involving wearing the color green (to commemorate the rolling hills of the motherland) and of course shamrocks. the wearing of the green actually began as a political statement in the 1798 irish rebellion led by soldiers. you did know that too, right? come on people, get with it.

so the wearing of the green is a tradition, and people all over get in the spirit and wear green, irish or not. why? do jews wear crucifixes on easter? do caucasians wear dashikis on kwanzaa? do we all don chinese hats on new year's eve of the rat? i think not.

in more modern times, the celebrations have been formalized into mostly parades and drinking festivals. yes, there's corned beef and cabbage (although i mostly think of corned beef as a jewish thing, personally.) but apparently the irish claim it as their own for one day a year, so i just let it be. no point in making a fuss. my people claim it the rest of the year. (and quite frankly, i'll take a jewish corned beef sandwich over an irish one anyday, but that's just me.) as for the drink festivals, that's a peculiar thing.

the irish, it seems, are famous, nay, notorious for drinking. (see drunken irish). i'm not sure why. (yes, i know they drink a lot, but then so do presbyterians. (albeit an irishman's idea of a good time is a shot and a beer, while the prezzies prefer a highball or a martini.) it's not a big deal to drink a lot. nuns do it, only they use coffee cups for propriety's sake. i even know a lot of gays that drink at least as much as the irish, although the preference, of course, would be for more lady-like drinks like cosmos or appletinis. (oh mary, don't ask). as i said, i'm not sure why the irish have such a bad rap about the drinking, but if an impartial observer took notes on saint patrick's day, the jury would declare the entire irish clan a bunch of drunks. (but then again, the same could be said about 100 million people right here on superbowl sunday, and that's just a football game, so there.) but hey, it's only one day, ok? ease up, will ya?

so to sum up so far, we have a group of people, identified with a particular island in great britain, but living all over the world, of course, who once a year dress up in green, wear shamrocks in one form or another, march in parades, hang out in bars and get drunk. hmmm. when you think about it, it's not much of a holiday really. not like christmas with it's presents, or hanukkah with its festival of lights and potato latkes, or even 4th of july with it's picnics, bar-b-ques, and fireworks. it's not even a day off from work when it falls on a weekday. i'm truly not sure what the big deal is about st. pat's day. but faith and begorrah, the irish sure love it.

and about that parade. there's usually a big one in lots of cities, but new york's is perhaps the biggest of them all. (after all, they do have a cathedral there named for him, and it's a beauty, too). many of the police and fireman are of irish descent, and in their parade, pretty much all are welcome to build a float, raise your banner, fly your colors and be proud.....except the gays. for some odd reason, they don't allow the gays to march in the saint patrick's day parade in new york. do they think there are no irish gays? i mean, if oscar wilde were alive, would they let him march? pretty good playwright, proud irishman and all? how about rosie o'donnell? she's alive. how come she can't march? i've seen her march in gay pride parades. she happens to be an excellent marcher and i think she would add something to the festivities, but alas, not allowed. hmmm. i guess that let's me out too. nice jewish gay boy with irish friends, forbidden to march. for a holiday that's really not such a much, seems to me they could use all the help, color, style and panache they can get. (although truth be told, the gays are not partial to green beer. too hard to find matching accessories.)

you know what? screw it. i'm putting this holiday up on the shelf with groundhog day. no big whoop. and this year on st. patrick's day, i'm going to a jewish deli to eat a hot corned beef sandwich on rye with good deli mustard and a pickle. (way better than boiled cabbage and potatoes.) rosie and i will see you at the gay pride parade.

top of the mornin' to you, and erin go bragh.

Monday, March 7, 2011

take 6 of these and call me in the morning.....

"abc news was there for a drug bust today, among lavish homes and luxury cars. florida doctors accused of writing prescriptions for powerful pain killers."

so began diane sawyer on her news tonight.  a multi-million dollar pill mill bust.  but let's start at the beginning

i live in south florida, as you all know, and sometimes we're very savvy and sophisticated, (such as the florida grand opera, or the new world symphony, or the art basel world art event). other times not so much. (such as the stand your ground law, allowing citizens to kill each other, legally, no gay adoptions (repealed just recently), and of course the ever popular no pregnant pigs in confined spaces). this piece is about the not so much.

i try not to write political pieces. i leave that to the talking heads on television, (o'reilly, hannity, olberman, and maddow, and of course the huffinton post). so if politics is mentioned here, it will only be in passing, with a minimum amount of indictment, although there is plenty to go around.

we have ourselves a situation here, in this country, where drugs are virtually out of control. (re-read that last sentence with the voice of strother martin from cool hand luke. it's way better that way). there's the illegal kind of drugs, of course, which you can buy from your local dealer, thug, gangster, or stock broker (hey, the market was down awhile, ok? some of those guys branched out. can't blame them.) police and authorities do their best but it's a tough fight. there's also the other kind, legal drugs. prescription drugs. pain killers, to be exact. this is the scenario, as it stands in most parts of the country.

there has been a rash of pain clinics that have gone into operation across the country. apparently there's big money in it. people go to a doctor for a back-ache, shoulder-ache, knees, elbows, what have you, and he or she will write a prescription for pain killers which the patient will subsequently fill at a pain clinic. (these must be the un-insured, as the others would go to walgreens, rite-aid or cvs, i'm guessing). now here's the catch. people abusing pain killers, like oxycontin, vicodin and others, are able to go to different doctors, get multiple prescriptions, fill them, and either spend their days and nights buzzed, (not a bad choice for some), or sell them for a profit, make some money, go buy more, and essentially become drug dealers in legal, but controlled substances. (although if you're caught dealing, i' m pretty sure you spend some quality time being bubba's bitch in the slammer, and you're going to need those same pain killers to soothe the hurt emanating from your rectum.)

this last kind of dealing is possible to control with a little help. authorities have devised a database kind of thing, where each doc is required to enter the name of the patient, the type of pain killers, the amount, and the date. that way, if another doctor pulls up that patient, he can see whether or not he's filling this kind of script very often or not. if he is, the doctor has some control and can opt not to give him or her more. it's a great plan, really and for the legitimate patient, there's no down side. they can check, i'm not abusing, i'm good to go. for the doctors, it's a win/win as they're more than likely not contributing to drug abuse or dealing, they're being responsible doctors, and they stay out of trouble when the patient who's dealing gets busted. personally, i think the database is a good idea. (but hey, can't go by me. i think funding the arts and paying teachers a competitive salary are good ideas too).

so who, you might ask, would object to this system?

apparently, our new governor, rick scott. he came to office claiming he was elected by the people to trim budgets, stop the deficit spending and make florida a fiscally sound entity. (good idea, really). oh, and jobs. his slogan for his campaign was let's get to work. (like the unemployed didn't want to?) so he takes office and begins to do his thing for our great state, and decides to veto the new law that the pesky legislature passed last year, allowing for the creation of the database to fight the pill mills. he wants to veto it, despite the fact that the state is not paying for it. it's not publicly funded. not his money. not our money. (something about invasion of privacy). so i'm thinking that talking to governor rick would go something like this:

me: hi gov. how's the job going?
him: not too bad david. the job has its perks. but there are downsides too.
me: really? seems like it would be a good gig. mansion and all, company car, huge treasury to plunder.
him: well, mr. smarty, i had a mansion before, and plenty of cars and more money than you could shake a stick at. i had a really good hospital company for a while. made a fortune, although they did make me give some back.
me: i hear ya. bummer. i hate when that happens. so, gov, what's the downside?
him: i tell people to do stuff and they don't. they have to take it up with the legislature. what kind of crap is that? i'm either the boss or i ain't.
me: yeah, raw deal. this cockeyed state kinda works like that. sorry. it can cramp one's style. so why the veto of the pill mill database?
him: i'm afraid of invasion of privacy issues. having doctors knowing which pills you take and how many.
me: um...excuse me, governor, but aren't doctors supposed to know that?
him: well of course, but not a lot of doctors. why would you need a lot of doctors to know your business.
me: a better question would be, why would you need a lot of doctors to write prescriptions, no?
him: i just don't like people looking over my shoulder and in my stuff. i'm a very private person. i like to keep my actions private.
me: so you went into public life to achieve that?
him: you ask a lot of questions, you know that? me, i'm skeptical. i saw that nice rush limbaugh get into trouble just because the doctors were into his business. doesn't seem right.
me: that nice rush limbaugh? um....ok. i gotta go. good luck with your veto and getting it through that pesky legislature.
him: great talking to you. now, let's get to work.

of course that was just an imaginary conversation, but i'm stymied why anyone is against the database to help control the flow of drugs and all of the related deaths. i doubt he'll be successful with his veto, and i think the legislature will prevail on this one, although it's gonna piss him off, i'm sure. go figure. you spend 70 million dollars of your own money to win an election (buy an election?), and you win, and now you're king of the world. (actually he could save a lot of money for the state by disbanding the legislature, but honestly, these days, that only happens in egypt). for now, he's stuck. he's the boss, but not the king. 

another classic case of be careful what you wish for.

Monday, February 21, 2011

fill 'er up, please.....

is it me, or has anyone else noticed that lately there has been a rash of untimely celebrity deaths?

first there was anna nicole smith. back in february of 2007, she died of a drug overdose. i said celebrity, and with that, i guess i have to include minor celebrities, because she was no marilyn monroe, by any means. she was playboy's playmate of the year, back in 1993, (and i'm guessing her enormous breasts had a hand in that). gaze upon her, if you dare:

she went on to become a spokesperson, model and tv personality. she modeled for guess jeans and lane bryant, (which meant she was a fat girl. i'm not being unkind. everybody knows that lane bryant is a fat lady store. i know it because my mother, who was a huge woman shopped there.) still, the larger than life, larger than most of us, reality star was at least famous enough to warrant our noticing her untimely demise. The circumstances were shady, at best. she was preceded in death by her son, (of a drug overdose), and then had a custody battle for a daughter she supposedly bore with her octogenarian husband, (i doubt that). the battle raged until her death of a drug overdose. (i see a pattern here). anyway, the whole thing was tragic, assuming you gave a shit at all about her, or her big knockers, or her career.
next up is the king of pop michael jackson. i should start by saying i really liked his body of work; beat it, thriller, bad, all of it. and it was a long impressive career. but he is fifty years old and dead of a drug overdose. most of us had guessed long ago that he was essentially a mess of gargantuan proportions. where does one begin? the monkey? the triangular pyramid under which he slept? (no offense to that particular cult of people. i love triangles. i especially love isosceles triangles. hell, i love geometry in general). the bleaching of the skin? the twenty-seven nose operations that left him with the nose of a muppet? the glove? the sequins? the underpants on the outside of his costume? two male children both named prince???, oh my, i've gone too long, but you get the idea. mess with a capital M.  for those of you who doubt me, gird your loins and see for yourself:
he was making a comeback after years of fighting child molestation charges, for which he was never convicted and never did hard time, (sleeping in the bed with all those kids, you ever wonder?  i don't.) and just like that, his doctor administers the drug propofol, to help him sleep.  that, on top of valium and other drugs, caused him to die from cardiac arrest.  (well, my dear doctor, he's sleeping now, isn't he?)  the personal physician pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and is out on bail, but he clearly killed him with an overdose, at least in my opinion. 

and now this, just in.....

on january 11th, porn star sexy cora dies on an operating table in germany while having plastic surgery.  she wasn't a world famous porn star like linda lovelace, or marilyn chambers, but she had her following.  ordinarily this would not be such a big deal, until you read the details of this particular plastic surgery.  she was a buxom blonde with a nice rack to begin with.  she went on to pierce her tongue in several places with silver studs.  (one can only imagine how that plays in the porn films.  actually, i wonder how that feels.  i'm kidding.  i know exactly how it feels). but she wanted a bigger set of boobs ostensibly to make her a bigger star. so she had surgery after surgery for a total of 5, to enhance them, growing finally to a 34F cup.  (now i don't know about you, but before i was gay, i dated a girl with a 34D cup and almost suffocated.  her melons were huge.  i was way out of my league.  i had no idea what to do with them.  it didn't make me gay, but it certainly didn't help any, scaring the life out of a poor young college student). i'm thinking a 34F cup is a huge pair of ta-tas. this is her, btw, sexy cora.  knockout, no?  certainly well-suited for porn.  guys, don't let your wives catch you looking at this:  oy......... 

but she had to have that 6th surgery, to get to that 34G arena, where few have gone before. the doctors in poland refused to do it, but she found some silicone happy docs in hamburg, germany who apparently thought growth hormones for her would be a good idea.  (didn't they see the pixar movie last year called up?  sometimes, with enough inflation,  you just float away). i can just hear her now, laying on the operating table:

fill 'er up boys.  i want 28 ounces of silicone in each puppy.  that ought to get me some fancy film contracts, not to mention, laid.

poor thing never got up from the table.  she just lay there, pinned under her giant melons, crushed to death, lifeless.

the doctors have been charged with negligent manslaughter, and are awaiting trial.  (shouldn't there be rules about this stuff?  well, it was germany.  probably a more lax society than ours, with less rules.  they're way ahead of us on some things, but i think they need a little more regulation on this one.  kind of like fertility doctors in this country doing what they do, and kate gosselin popping out a tribe of eight.  i mean, come on.  there's something just not right about that, i'm thinking.  so why are boob doctors trying to enlarge the emergency flotation devices planted on this porn star's chest?)

what can we take away from all this?
1)  don't do drugs. 
i, for one, don't, (anymore).  let's all start with that.  kids, adults, don't do drugs for fun. not even the prescription kind. (if you're looking to get high).  they're readily available and the pill mill industry is thriving (perhaps a subject for next week), but that doesn't mean it's ok. (well, it was ok in the '60s because most of us were young and stupid.  besides the choices were way better back then. we had quaaludes). but not anymore.  ok?

2)  don't have enormous tits.
wait, that didn't come out right.  i meant, ladies, if you have smaller than desired breasts, and you'd like some enhancement, i say go for it, within reason.  (and of course, my within reason could be way different from yours).  plastic surgery is indeed our friend.  we can have our noses fixed, our butts lifted, our boobs enhanced (well, not me, but.....), or our tummies tucked.  (see a chorus line, tits and ass.)  hmmm.  if i could, though, i'd most likely have penis augmentation. (ooh, i love the very sound of that.  i've never been huge in that department, to tell the truth.  it would certainly make me enormously popular, especially in the gay world.  i'd be a manly stud but i'd probably stop at nine inches.  i could go for twelve, but i wouldn't want to die on the table before i got to try it out.  i mean, what good is it to be a hung adonis, if you're dead?)  but gals, if you already have these goodyear dirigibles attached to your front end, just be happy with their size, and don't try to squeeze them into the guiness book.  first of all, they probably won't fit, and secondly, you  might not live to enjoy it.  seems to me that a 34F cup is more than enough for most men.  and if it isn't, i think maybe those guys are playing for the wrong team. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

he loves me, he loves me not.....

i wrote the other day about two of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon america, the starbucks thing, and the boar's head thing. tonight's epistle is not about hoax or fraud, (although i must admit there is a hint of it in the air). it's about a very odd tradition called st. valentine's day.

you all know the story of the origins, so i won't bore you with them. (a man named valentinius lived back in ancient rome, when young men, possibly soldier material, were forbidden to marry, because single guys were more willing to fight and die for mother rome, than were men with loved ones. he performed the marriages anyway, against the will of the emperor, and was found out and murdered and became a christian martyr. you did know all that, right? should i have said spoiler alert?) anyway, it was such a romantic gesture that it is suspected of being the origin.

but all of that aside, today, in modern times, valentine's day is a big deal on several levels.

1) single people
of the world, who think it's a load of crap. i can just hear them seething.

let's just pick a day to make us single guys and gals feel miserable. i'm a happy person all year long, and single by choice, because i want to be, but somehow on valentine's day i can't venture out into a restaurant because i'm alone, single, and loving life, but there's no significant other on my arm and couples will gaze upon my independence and pity me. ME??? spare me your pity. think about it, people, it's one day, out of the whole year. i mean what's the point? you either love and have someone all year or you don't. why the fuss over one day?
(see, there's a groundhog thing going on here. one insane day perpetuated by.....if we only knew....).

then there are the couples. they fall into categories as well.

a) new couples.

oh geez, everything is romantic to them. the moon, the stars, cupcakes for two, crying together watching lady and the tramp, (ok, the guy's a dork, but she loves him with his tears.) for them, valentine's day is an excuse to do cutesy things, that actually make the rest of us a little nauseous, but if you say that out loud, you're a curmudgeon, so we smile and kvell a little for young love and all its glory. (i actually do. deep down, part of me is a sentimental old fluff. and hey, i was young once. a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far,away.)

b) old couples

they've been together awhile. i'll get back to the gay couples in a minute. let's talk about straight couples. (wow, could i do a chapter or two about what straight men don't get, about valentine's day. the women will be cheering in a minute.). women are more romantic than straight men. period. straight men love manly things. sports, beer, golf, fraternizing with other men, (but not for sex), but including bragging, boasting, talking trash, exaggerating, and general camaraderie. kind of like grown up college boys. women are more sensitive, loving, caring, better human beings all round. (i know, i betray my own sex, but of course i'm talking here about straight men), and it's all too true.

so this one day rolls around, and the female half of the equation generally buys into it, that her man ought to show a little emotion or affection by way of a gift. a card. a box of chocolates. a surprise dinner out. some acknowledgement that he has access to her vagina. something. and a lot of guys get it, and they do it. some out of love, some out of fear, some out of i just don’t want to hear i fucked up, but they do, god love ‘em.

some don’t. no punani for them on the 14th.

c) the gays. my people. we get it. we know romantic love better than ennis del mar and jack twist (brokeback mountain, for you beginners). and it’s the same with us. some guys go all out. my friends, the ones where one half of the couple is, shall we say, a fussy eater? (see earlier blog). the two of them are so romantic. they do the nice restaurant thing, and sometimes jewelry. ah romance. it’s nice. and i love them for that. they told me today, that rather than go out to a crazy overpriced restaurant with poor service because the staff is overworked on a day like today, they bring in chinese food, set it up on the coffee table and sit on the floor in the living room, by the fireplace and have a romantic dinner. (well, they don't have a fireplace, it's florida, ok?) but they put the dvd of the fireplace on the tv and cozy up and feed each other with chopsticks. kindof chinese lady and the tramp. (i might have made that last part up.) but they're true role models for romance in the gay world.

d) the non-romantic gays. to them, it’s a night where, as a couple, there are specials at happy hour on drinks, or they cash in on valentine’s day special dinners around town, because they are a couple. but it’s a little like a free meal at denny’s on your birthday. not packed with a lot of emotion or love.

as for me, husband and i are good. we have love every day. don’t need a dinner out or jewelry. (thank god, because quite frankly, i can’t afford diamonds). we know we’re in for the long run, and that’s enough. i love him, he loves me, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. (catchy song lyric, no?)

so who’s perpetuating the st. valentine’s event these days?
hallmark? godiva? ftd? madison avenue? best buy? (i actually saw a commercial that said, buy your honey a kindle. talk about romance!) i’m not sure who's behind it, but i do know, as sure as punxatawnie phil is going to poke his little head out next year, and the huddled masses will pay heed, that there will be some cards, roses and candy circling the globe on the 14th.

so the truth is, this one’s as big a hoax as any of them. the difference is, that by the end of the day, there will be a lot of couples smooching, happy, getting laid, and renewed in their love and relationships, all for the price of a box of chocolates. not a bad deal, when you think about it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a trip to the drugstore.....

hi, i'm back.

i've told you the story of husband's cold, the week before christmas, and how he handles it so differently than i do, and how i most likely wouldn't catch it from him.

well, you have to promise not to laugh at me, (and i have very good hearing from my old bartending days, so i'll know if you're sniggling). ready?

i caught my very own cold. Didn’t need to steal his at all.

oh, i know, i said i wouldn't get sick. It couldn't happen to mois. best laid plans.....yada yada.

oh, it started out innocently enough. i felt a kind of tickle in the back of my throat for a night or two. then, one morning, it was full-fledged sore. battle stations. let the airborne begin. every four hours the fizzy was in the glass. i doubled up on vitamin c, i took aspirin several times a day, anemia be damned, but by day three, my nose was running and i had a drip, in the back of my throat to rival the tapped maple trees of vermont. this annoying dripping stuff, causing me to cough, which meant, bring on the cough drops, lozenges, and alka-seltzer plus. that all afforded some relief, but i needed more. so off to walgreen's i went.

now, i might have mentioned in husband's illness blog that i never get sick. well, now i have to amend that to i almost never get sick, so it's literally been years and years since i've had a cold, flu, or any general malaise, if you don't count congestive heart failure, catheter procedures, being defibrillated with people placing paddles on your chest and yelling clear, and ablations. i guess i never get runny nose sick, is really what i mean, so i have no idea what products are available these days and which are contra-indicated with other meds that i already take. so as i said, i was off to walgreen's for an adventure.

right off the bat, there's some funny stuff going on in walgreen's and i'm surprised they get away with it. first of all i head for decongestants, and it's as if i've stepped into a puzzle. there's claritin sitting on a shelf right next to wal-tin. i read the ingredients and they're identical, but walgreen's version is generic and half the price, which leads me to two questions:

1) why would anyone in his/her right mind, buy the brand name when the identical drug next to it half the price? and
2) why does claritin put up with those kinds of shenanigans, being undercut right in your face, as if to say, hey claritin, your crap's expensive?

as i look around i see robitussin next to wal-tussin, benadryl next to wal-dryl, and my beloved alka-seltzer cold plus, next to walgreen's effervescent cold-plus, the identical plop-plop, fizz-fizz. suddenly, my eyes espy my sacred airborne, and, what's this?... wal-borne on the shelf right next to it? all these years i've been paying retail, like the gentiles, when there was a generic? clutch the pearls! i am cut to my quick. i quickly scoop up a couple of boxes and try to act nonchalant as i put them in my cart. i'd be mortified if anyone knew the truth. oh, and there's one more i must add, at this point, my favorite which is yrtec, sitting next to wal-zyr. what genius dreamed up that alternative name?

hey ma, i'm sick. dyin' in here.
shut up and take some wal-zyr and go back to bed.

in addition, there are some drugs that aren't even on the shelf anymore. just their pictures, particularly sudafed, or wal-fed. if you want to purchase those, you take the picture to the druggist, he pulls the actual drug from behind the counter, you sign forms indicating that you can prove who you are and are not drug shopping, so as to take this stuff home, go down in your basement, and turn it into crack cocaine and smoke it, which is precisely my very first thought every time i catch cold in the first place. now if i could only get my hands on some crack cocaine, and smoke it, and fill my lungs with deadly acid smoke and accelerate my heartbeat to 180 and rot my teeth, i'd feel better. duh!!! i need to get sick more often, just to stay in touch with what's out there.

so, i'm not sure what i really need, standing in front of the wall of commercialism that makes this great nation what it is, a giant morass of consumerism, so i look at the worker-bee next to me in the aisle. the $10/hr worker, who's stacking shelves with boxes of depends, with one hand and texting her bff with the other, and opt not to ask her advice. i mosey over to the pharmacist, who's supposed to know a thing or two about a thing or two, and ask him,

me: which of these products might be good for a cold?
him: claritin, he answers. or sudafed.
me: for coughing?
him: oh, you didn't mention coughing, that would the robitussin.
me: will the wal-tussin do?
him: yeah, same thing.
me: how about the post nasal drip thing?
him: oh, ya got that too?
me: yeah, that's what's causing the cough.
him: oh. ok. try the mucinex.
me: will the wal-mucus do?
him: yeah, same thing.
me: will i be overdoing it taking all of these at once?
him: do you have high blood pressure? (now he asks me? after suggesting all that crap?)
me: no, fortunately for me (and you, asshole), i don't.
him: then you should be ok.
me: thanks. i'll need you to give me the sudafed, or wal-fed.
him: no problem, i'll just need you to sign a few things and show me some id.

so, about twenty bucks later i exit the store, satchel in tow, knowing i'll be better in a day or two.

later that week.....

so, i'm better. the wal-mucus stopped the drip, the walgreen's effervescent cold relief stopped the runny nose, the wal-tussin stopped the cough, and the wal-fed gave me a wicked buzz. (no wonder that stuff's regulated. if i'd felt better, that might have been fun. mixed maybe with a quaalude and a vodka chaser?.....but i digress). i'm better now, and this whole episode reminds me of what my grandmother (the kosher one) once said to me.....

bubele, a cold is 10 days. it's 3 days coming on, 3 bad days with you, and 3 days leaving you, and one last achy day finally beginning to feel good again. not much you can do.
just roll with it.
(funny, she learned that in a shtetl in russia and there wasn't even a walgreen's. just some chicken soup. or perhaps, wal-soup.

feel better.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

can you see me now?.....

i can't let this one go by.

i've been bothered by this for years, and now that i have this venue, i feel the need to vent a little bit. bear with me.

yesterday, we are all to believe, is the annual event known as groundhog day. you all know the drill. it's all about punxatawnee phil, the little rodent from the town of the same name in pennsylvania. it seems that tradition has it, that every february 2nd, he pokes his furry little head out of the ground, and if he sees his shadow, (i'm guessing it frightens him), he goes back inside, and the united states of america is stuck with six more weeks of winter. hmmmm. if he doesn't see it, he stays out and what? basks in the overcast? heads to the beach on a cloudy day? am i the only one to realize that this entire process has nothing to do with the groundhog and is simply a matter of is the sun out today? why, i repeat, why, do we need the groundhog? why can't we just be adults and say, if it's cloudy on february 2nd, winter is over, (even though that's a thoroughly moronic thing to say), and if it's sunny, winter is not? are you following me on this? it's been going on since the mid 1850's, and i'm sure by now, the little furball is old and tired of being blamed.

the winter of 2011 is already going down in the history books as among the most brutal in a very long time. storm after storm has pummelled the nation, people are snow weary, snowbound, snow blind, snowed in, and snowed under. seems the only word with snow in it, that's nice, is snowbirds, the smart ones who escape. (did i mention i was outside in the pool yesterday for an hour, swimming my new year's resolution laps? the water was toasty, and it was 82 degrees outside. ah winter in south florida, but i digress.)

i was watching diane sawyer and her world news last night, and the snow is a bigger story than the demise of that egyptian guy, whatshisname? it was the number one item on the news. so the fact that the little rodent was celebrated as the harbinger of spring seems foolhardy at best. i saw in that broadcast that there is another storm on its way to dump more snow across the nations middle section. calendar-wise, there are six more weeks until the actual first day of spring, and this little roadkill creature is supposed to cheer up the frozen millions? people slipping and falling on sheets of ice in atlanta should be soothed? twenty-seven thousand tons of snow were moved by snowplows in chicago. think they feel any better about old punxatawnee phil's marvelous prediction? i'm very mistrustful about this whole business, and have been for years.

maybe we should devise a new method of determining when winter is over.

how about this: we send old farmer brown out with a pick. he raises it over his head and strikes the ground with it as hard as he can. if he hits dirt, winter is over. if he hits an impenetrable sheet of ice, it is not. no? too simple?

how about this: we put the cat out on the night of february 1. in the morning, if the cat is ok, winter is over. if the cat is frozen solid, it's still winter. that might work.

wait, wait, i have it.

we take a bucket of water and put it outside on february 1st. when we wake up on february 2nd, if the bucket of water is sitting in the shade, winter is over, (and it's probably a bucket of ice), and if the bucket is in the sun, winter is not. much easier. that way we can retire old phil, and let him live out his golden years in miami. and like all the other snowbirds down here, he won't look at all odd, even though he's still wearing his fur coat.

Monday, January 31, 2011

say cheese.....

today's observation is really an expose`, about two of the greatest hoaxes, that i believe, have ever been perpetrated on the american people. (the key phrase is "i believe". you can believe what you like.)

i love coffee.

oh, not like some. i don't drink twenty cups a day or anything, i drink about two cups. and i don't do caffeine (gave it up about 15 years ago. back then, everyone i knew that was older, that got sick and went to a doctor, was told pretty much the same things. give up caffeine, give up salt, give up smoking, and give up drinking. so i'm 3 for 4 at this point, and down to a glass of wine or two on the 4th. don't push me.) so i gave up caffeine, but still love a good cup of decaf.

growing up, when i did caffeine, we had maxwell house, chock-full-of-nuts, a&p 8:00, yuban, martinson's and others. you found one you liked (for me it was martinson's) and ran with it. for decaf drinkers, there wassanka. not a great choice but hey, it was better than no coffee.

then, in 1971 a company named starbucks opened it's first store in seattle and began to sell very nice coffee. over time, their success grew and grew until by the mid 1990's there was a starbucks on every corner of the eastern and western seaboard of this country. (maybe the midwest too. i wouldn't know, i don't go there.) they did a great deal of advertising and actually convinced the american public that their coffee was vastly superior to any other on the planet. (and maybe it is, but that's not my issue). it's come to the point where a whole segment of the general population refuses to make coffee at home anymore, and subsequently stands in line, sometimes for many minutes, to order a cup of coffee. well, to put it more precisely, a cup of half-caf, decaf, caramel, chocolate, hazelnut, latte, macchiato grande venti. (at least that's what it sounds like to me, mr. decaf), and then, get this....this is the part that kills me....they'll pay 4 or 5 dollars for it! a freakin' cup of coffee!!

i buy zabar's coffee. one zabar's. one store. new york city. i have it flown in from new york. (i know what you're thinking. who the fuck is he to dish my coffee when he's having his flown in? well i gotta tell you, if you order 4 pounds at a time the shipping is free, so there.) i pay $9/lb for great coffee. i get about 10 pots of 10 cups each from a pound. (roughly a hundred cups, for you non-math majors). so it runs about 9 cents a cup. the people on line at starbucks, waiting for the half-caf...well, you know are shelling out $4/cup so a 100 cups per pound the coffee costs $400./lb. wtf?? do the math, people. and i don't stand on line either. (ok, maybe my math is a little off, and there's a touch of hyperbole, but still).

how the american public fell for this ruse is beyond my comprehension. they've convinced america that their coffee is superior, and maybe it is, but $400/lb? and yet, alas, each starbucks i pass has a line out the door, populated with people holding $4 bills, so there's a very distinct possibility that it's just me. (i must add at this point, i especially love to watch new yorkers with their starbucks. they walk. they never drive. they walk. a cup of starbucks in one hand, the cel phone in the other hand, their briefcase in still another hand, and, of course, the cigarette in the final one. new yorkers are so great, with 4 hands and all.)

so take it or leave it. just one man's opinion.

which brings us to hoax #2.

you know how i'm always saying the cheese stands alone whenever i realize i'm the only one out of the loop? well, today i'd like to actually talk about cheese, and other cold cuts as well.

growing up we had wunderbar bologna, krakus or atalanta ham, hormel meats, land o lakes cheese, and other assorted brands. we made sandwiches. we ate them. we liked them. we survived.

boars head brand has been around since the turn of the 20th century, (around 1905), and came into wide distribution nationally by the 1970's. they started a massive advertising blitz some years back, where every third commercial on television was for boars head, and practically every other commercial on radio. it featured a guy with a voice just like burgess meredith, (who i have it on very good authority is dead), but it sounded like him, and we like him, (you remember, the penguin from the old 1960'sbatman series?), and the ads were relentless, and boars head products wormed their way into our grocery stores and our national consciousness, again, like the aforementioned starbucks, simply by repetition. like a giant brainwashing. when it finally hit all of our local publix stores, they even trained the employees to give everyone a slice of everything they cut, whether they wanted it or not. i can't tell you how many times i've gone in there to order some stuff for husband, and i'm on a diet, again, (or is it still?), and i'm handed a slice of cheese. like a guy on a diet stands around munching on cheese? god those people piss me off.

and i reached saturaton, nay, break point, just the other day, which has prompted this writing. the story goes exactly like this. i couldn't possibly make this up.

i wander into the store, take my number and wait. finally, a lovely woman, (not a kid, but a grown woman named michelle, begins.)

michelle: number 33
me: that's me.
michelle: what can i get you.
me: i'd like a pound of white american cheese, please.
michelle: would you like boars head?
me: no, the land--o-lakes is fine.
michelle: the boars head is on sale.
me: yes, but it's still costs more and i'm fine with the other. grew up with it.
michelle: well, did you know the land-o-lakes is made with powdered milk?
me: really? (clutch the pearls). i did not know that.
michelle: yes, it is.
me: (now i'm doubting myself). ok, michelle, let me taste a slice of each.

a minute later, i'm standing in front of a deli case, tasting with two hands, enjoying both cheeses (suddenly mr diet is munching cheese again, two slices at a time, and pissing off the people with higher numbers than mine, (too bad, people, should have been here earlier), and the light bulb (like you see in the cartoons) goes off over my head. and i think:

why, in the name of god and cheese, would anyone take a bucket of milk, dehydrate it to powder, take that powder to the cheese area of the plant, and add water, to make milk, so you can make cheese? the absurdity of it hit me. so i said to her:

me: michell, that doesn't make sense, if you think about it. why would they do that?
michelle: i don't know, but they do.
me: who told you that?
michelle: the boars head salesman.
me: i see.

i felt a primal scream forming in my solar plexus, so i took a deep breath and forged on.

me: i'll take a pound of the land-o-lakes white american cheese, michelle, (and just to get even, i added) and put paper between the slices please. fuck with my head, will you?)

true story.

but alas, again, as i stood there, the populace was lined up, numbers in one hand (and i half expected a starbucks in the other), waiting for the boars head lady to lead them down the garden path, some holding a slice of ham or turkey, and others munching expensive cheese.

so let this be a lesson. just because someone says something amazingly idiotic with great authority, does not necessarily make it so. and when you hear things on radio or television over and over til your head is bursting, there's probably something they're trying to sell you. and it ain't always the truth.

i'm probably the only person that this whole business would bother, but then again, one more example of the cheese stands alone.