Friday, June 22, 2018

The End of the School Year Class Album - 2018

 I think the other cowboys are going to beat the shit out of you.
 Howard Stern?
 Never ever had people sitting with him in the cafeteria.
 Who designed her cap?  Nike?
 Future community activist.
 When you only have time for half a haircut.
 When you have no time to fix your hair.
 When you have too much time to fix your hair.
 It's Morticia Addams.   Or Gomez.  Hard to tell.
 Hey, kid, if you keep making that face, it will freeze in place.
 Hey, Rhoda.
Somebody's parent let this kid go to school like that.

Dinner last night:  Orange beef at Miyabi in Pleasantville.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I'll Try Anything for Knee Relief

If you have been a regular reader here for the last decade or so, you will know that I've got major arthritis in both knees.   The right one is the more problematic and will likely get the Home Depot hinge installed sometime next year.   So, I am in the process currently of buying some time until those foreign parts are installed.   

With that in mind, I work hard to give me relief now.   Two sessions every week with my trainer keeps me mobile.  Braces and patella straps are a regular part of my wardrobe.   Ice packs are always found in my freezer.

But, I am always up for something new to try and the above is my latest bright idea that worked a bit.   No, that's not me in the photo.   The device attached to Mr. Ed is, however, the same that was attached to yours truly.   Not in a stable, but in the comforts of my living room.

I have tried PEMF Therapy.   And there are a lot of positives. PEMF stands for "Pulsed Electromagnetic Field."   Essentially, these are jumper cables for your body.

I knew nothing about this until about a month ago.  Our lead actress on a current project posted on her Facebook page that her best friend had been certified as a PEMF therapist.  She was starting a home business and my friend had even succumbed to the treatment, dealing with a sore back and shoulder.   I asked her if arthritis could be helped.  Why not?

So, after talking to therapist Marcie, whose own mother got help with her arthritic joints, I offered up my own bones-on-bones for treatment.  Ironically, humans are not her only patients.   Horses, dogs, and cats have been helped with this contraption.  I checked it out with my trainer first.   Even Dr. Oz has promoted it.  Okay, the latter holds no weight with me.   But my trainer's POV does.   Bring it on.

Marcie shows up at your house (the very last person in America to make house calls) with a rolling suitcase that makes it appear she is there to fix your computer.  She plugs it in and you have to make sure you're not holding your phone, keys, or any credit cards.  She places this plastic-encased coil on the trouble spots and away you go.

There is a knocking sensation as it revs up.  Placing it on my right knee sent pulse waves down to the bottom of my feet.   My legs twitched as if an over zealous internist was whacking my reflexes repeatedly with his hammer. This occurred over the period of two hours as Marcie searched both my knees for key trigger points.  Meanwhile, all the while, I had as pleasant a conversation as I do with my hair stylist.

The result of my first session?

I felt like I was walking on hair.   My less troublesome left knee felt great.   The right knee was still stiff but less painful.   Of course, I undid all of the good work by the end of the day by immediately heading to a three-hour lunch meeting where my right knee was shoved inside a restaurant booth.   Ouch.

But, as my trainer has always told me, everything in my body is connected to how my legs operate.  So, several weeks later, I asked Marcie to do my entire body...so to speak.   She placed this coil strategically all over.  My back, my neck, my arms, my ass, my hamstrings.  After those two hours, I felt lighter than air.  Oddly enough, I had a training session later that day and he usually does some massaging.

"I have never felt you looser in the entire two years I have been working with you."

So there.

Okay, the PEMF therapy is no substitute for the ultimate repair of a bone-on-bone situation.  But it can help with all the body parts and, as the kids' song goes, "the right elbow is connected to the right shoulder...tra la."  I've now decided to have this treatment done once a month.   It can't hurt.   Marcie is now officially a member of Team Len, along with my hair stylist, my trainer, my internist, and my portfolio manager.  And, oh, if enough currents go through me, maybe I can read in bed at night without turning on the night stand lamp.

Dinner last night:  Pepperoni pizza at Gianna's.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

This Date in History - June 20

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it's your birthday.

451:  DURING THE BATTLE OF CHALONS, FLAVIUS AETIUS BATTLES ATTILA THE HUN, WHO ULTIMATELY RETREATS.

Who knew that Attila was such a freakin' wimp?

1605:  AFTER ONLY THREE MONTHS AS TSAR, 16-YEAR-OLD FEODOR II OF RUSSIA IS ASSASSINATED.

Well, that means there's some girl in Russia without a prom date.

1685:  JAMES SCOTT, IST DUKE OF MONMOUTH, DECLARES HIMSELF KING OF ENGLAND.

Later to be outdone by the Prince of Aqueduct and the Earl of Hialeah.

1756:  A BRITISH GARRISON IS IMPRISONED IN THE BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA.

But, isn't Calcutta a black hole all by itself?

1782:  THE US CONGRESS ADOPTS THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

The seal was later on display at Sea World.

1787:  OLIVER ELLSWORTH MOVES AT THE FEDERAL CONVENTION TO CALL THE GOVERNMENT THE UNITED STATES.

Remember when we had a Constitution that people actually respected?

1819:  THE US VESSEL, SS SAVANNAH, ARRIVES AT LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND.  SHE IS THE FIRST STEAM-PROPELLED VESSEL TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC, ALTHOUGH MOST OF THE JOURNEY IS MADE UNDER SAIL.

Sounds like a scam to me.  How do we know how much distance was done via steam and how much was done with the sails?

1837:  QUEEN VICTORIA SUCCEEDS TO THE BRITISH THRONE.

Later on, she made a nifty gas guzzler of a car.

1840:  SAMUEL MORSE RECEIVES THE PATENT FOR THE TELEGRAPH.

Dot dot dash dash dot dash dot.

1863:  WEST VIRGINIA IS ADMITTED AS THE 35TH US STATE.

Effectively lowering the national IQ by 50 points.

1877:  ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL INSTALLS THE WORLD'S FIRST COMMERCIAL TELEPHONE SERVICE IN CANADA.

In Canada???  Who knew???  Nobody called to tell me.

1893:  LIZZIE BORDEN IS ACQUITTED OF THE MURDERS OF HER FATHER AND STEPMOTHER.

If the axe doesn't fit, you must acquit.

1900:  DURING THE BOXER REBELLION, THE IMPERIAL CHINESE ARMY BEGINS A 55-DAY SIEGE IN BEIJING, CHINA.

I knew boxers would rebel if the briefs got too uppity.

1909:  ACTOR ERROL FLYNN IS BORN.

Just what the hell is a swashbuckler anyway?

1920:  MY FATHER IS BORN.

Had this not happened, you would not be reading about it in this blog.

1924:  ACTOR AUDIE MURPHY IS BORN.

Somebody please tell me what Audie is short for.

1928:  ACTOR MARTIN LANDAU IS BORN.

Mission conceivable.

1931:  ACTRESS OLYMPIA DUKAKIS IS BORN.

She won an Oscar and is related to an inept Presidential candidate.   The two most extreme ends of the spectrum.

1942:  KAZIMIERZ PIECHOWSKI AND THREE OTHERS, DRESSED AS MEMBERS OF THE SS-TOTENKOPFVERBANDE, STEAL AN SS STAFF CAR AND ESCAPE FROM AUSCHWITZ.

It actually hurt my fingers to type the word "Totenkopfverbande."

1942:  BEACH BOY BRIAN WILSON IS BORN.

Okay, this one was easier to type.

1943:  THE DETROIT RACE RIOT BREAKS OUT AND CONTINUES FOR THREE MORE DAYS.

Merely a dress rehearsal for the big one twenty or so years later.

1946:  TV HOST BOB VILA IS BORN.

Mr. Fix-it.  I know people who have worked with him.  The guy doesn't know how to use a hammer.  You can't make this shit up.

1947:  GANGSTER BUGSY SIEGEL DIES.

On somebody's windshield.

1948:  TOAST OF THE TOWN, LATER THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, MAKES ITS TELEVISION DEBUT. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Wayne and Shuster.

1949:  MUSICIAN LIONEL RICHIE IS BORN.

Say you?  No, say me.

1952:  ITALIAN RACE CAR DRIVER LUIGI FAGIOLI DIES.

I loved his pasta.

1959:  A RARE JUNE HURRICANE STRIKES CANADA, KILLED 35.

But, thanks to Alexander Graham Bell's phone system up there, we were able to alert people.

1963:  THE SO-CALLED RED TELEPHONE IS ESTABLISHED BETWEEN THE SOVIET UNION AND THE UNITED STATES FOLLOWING THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS.

Hello, Nikita, whatcha doin'?

1972:  BUSINESSMAN HOWARD JOHNSON DIES.

He ran out of flavors.

1972:  AN 18 1/2-MINUTE GAP APPEARS IN THE TAPE RECORDING OF THE CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN US PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON AND HIS ADVISORS REGARDING THE RECENT ARRESTS OF HIS OPERATIVES WHILE BREAKING INTO WATERGATE.

"I am                                        crook."

1978:  DIRECTOR MARK ROBSON DIES.

He did Peyton Place among some tawdry others.

1990:  ASTEROID EUREKA IS DISCOVERED.

Eureka, it's Eureka!

2003:  THE WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION IS FOUNDED IN ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA.

And I wouldn't know this except for Wikipedia.

2012:  PAINTER LEROY NEIMAN DIES.

Paint that.

Dinner last night:  Long day of travel...a little ice cream.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

#NotMe

Stumbling around social media, I ran across this post which was shared by a friend.   The originator of the entry was Occupy Democrats Logic, which, just by name, is ridiculous.  I mean, how can a political party name and the word "logic" appear together?

I noted that the asshole in this photo was taking the time to apologize to all women for past treatment on behalf of all men.

Speak for yourself, jerk.  I didn't do anything.

I have tried to treat the opposite sex with kindness all my life.   I've never harassed a woman or abused one or raped one.   I did accidentally punch a girl "friend" in the mouth back in college.  It was an amusement park and I had tripped.  I stuck my clenched hand out to brace a fall forward.  Her chin was right there.   She relentlessly never let me forget it.  In retrospect, she was incredibly annoying and probably had it coming.

But I digress...
I have been an upstanding gentleman in all my dating years.  Hmmm, maybe that's why I never married.   Whatever.   In 2018, the goal is obviously to throw all guys under the bus.   And, frankly, I would prefer not to have some tires run over my face.

Of course, a lot of this is due to the #MeToo movement which has commandeered the thought processes of Hollywood and Washington, DC the past eight months.   Thank you, Harvey Weinstein.   I believe most of the stories and I'm livid for the pain and anguish they have caused.

But, now every guy is being neutered in public and this is unfunny.  My trainer and I were talking about this the other day at the gym.   In this new enlightened age, you have to be careful what you say to a woman.   You can't even compliment them for fear it will be taken the wrong way.

Personally, if somebody I know looks particularly good in an outfit or has lost a little weight, I'd like to acknowledge it.  But you can't.   And that includes if I want to compliment a male friend as well.

This all sucques.

Here's how freaking upstanding I have been in my life.   Here in Hollywood, casting couch tales are rampant.  So, a few years ago, I wanted to approach this actress to be the lead in our project.  She was fairly well known from television work and is immensely talented.   We thought she could be a comedic gem. And, like we do with most actors, we wanted to engage them directly in lieu of dealing with the solid brick wall of agentdom.  

I actually tracked her down to Facebook and that would be the route.   Except I was totally conscious about the fact that I was a guy.  I thought that would be way too creepy for a strange "producer-writer" due to approach her on-line. Considering her sensitivity, I had our female associate producer make the initial overture.   When it was received positively, I told her to extend a lunch invitation.   But, then, my sensitivity kicked in again.   I made sure the female associate producer came to lunch, too.   And, indeed, the next couple of times we got together, I made sure it was always a threesome.

Now, the actress and I are friends, so the walls are down and chaperones are unnecessary.   But, as I simply worried about one woman's sensibilities, I realized just how easy it can be for someone to be...well...a nice guy.

Maybe I'm the extreme.  Maybe I am a super rarity.  Perhaps.   But, when apologies are being offered from one gender to another, please leave my name off the global signature.

Dinner last night:  Leftover sausage, peppers, and onions.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Morning Video Laugh - June 18, 2018

Ah, that special day when your little brat graduates.

Dinner last night:  Leftover chinese food from Bamboo Cuisine.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Sunday Memory Drawer - The Latter Days of Dad

Don't scratch your head.  Yes, I have used this photo of my dad before.  But it is Father's Day and, once again, my thoughts ping pong around the rec hall that is in my brain. 

You see, this particular week was always a double hit for me.  Not only do we contend with the annual patriarchal holiday but my father's birthday was June 20.  A double whammy.  Some years, it all happened on the same day.  What's a son to do?

When I was younger, the commemoration was an easy one.  I simply tried to stay out of his hair.  I would avoid getting into trouble and sit quietly at our family gathering, perhaps listening to a Met doubleheader on a transistor radio.

When I was an adult, the celebration was different.  I now had the wherewithal to pay for a meal.  So I would troop Dad out to a restaurant dinner and that's a big deal for somebody who rarely liked to eat out in his later years.  But I'd scope out an eatery with that one special requirement my dad always had.

A salad bar. 

This was a new phenomenon to him.  All the lettuce, beets, cole slaw, hot peppers, olives, potato salad, and onions you could eat.    I remember the first time he experienced this at a place called the Victoria Station on Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers. 

"I can go up for a second plate?"

Yes.  And the sense of wonderment on my father's face stayed with me to this day.  You can actually get unlimited food.  Perhaps a difficult notion to swallow for a child of the Depression Years.

On those outings in the later stages of our life together, the routine would be the same.  Whether it be for a Met game, a meal, or a doctor's visit.  I would drive.  And pick him up.  A simple act.  Just like he had done for me so many years ago when I needed to go someplace.  But, now the situation was reversed.  And so was the relationship.

And this happens for all of us at some point in our lives.

The child becomes the parent.  And, wistfully, the parent becomes the child.

And so, too, did my father and I bow to the inevitable circle of life. 

I think today of my dad's later years cut short at the age of 70.  Indeed, when he was forced into retirement by his long term employer, the Mount Vernon Die Casting Company, at the age of 62, he should have immediately enjoyed the freedom.  But, unfortunately, he never got that initial opportunity.  The end of his work days coincided with my grandmother's broken hip and what would be the last year of her life.  Because she wanted nothing to do with having any sort of caretaker in the house, my dad became the 24/7 lifeline.  And lost one year of his life to this task.

Again...

The child becomes the parent.  And, wistfully, the parents becomes the child.

Grandma's death led to more uncertainty with her house (and Dad's home) being sold.  Packing up the remains of a household and an existence.  Because he and my mom had amicably split due to that old bugaboo of the "empty nest syndrome," my father relocated to a Bronx apartment.  All the boxes from the house went there.  And sat in the corner, waiting to be unpacked for the next eight years.

I first noticed that Dad was having a health issue on September 17, 1986.  How can I be that precise with a date years later?  Well, we were both at Shea Stadium.  The New York Mets' clinching of the Eastern Division that night.  In the Loge, Section 6 seats of my pal, the Bibster.  Amid all the joyful hysteria, I couldn't help but notice that my father had to go down to the bathroom every half inning. 

Hmmmm.

I mentioned it several times in passing over the next month or so.  My father belittled it all.  To give it any level of consideration, he would have had to go to a doctor.  And, yes, he did not go there.

By Christmas, his prostate problems were so pronounced that his kidneys and bladder were completely shutting down.

Son morphs into Dad overnight.  I called the paramedics when he didn't answer the phone.  And so began my father's soon-to-be-ongoing relationship with the nursing staff of Mount Vernon Hospital.

He was not happy.

"You put me in here!"

As if I just sentenced him to Attica State Prison.

The next few years were devoted to his recovery and the realization that he actually had an illness.  As he would refer to it...

"I've got the C."

Not to be confused with the B or the P or the V.

The next few years were probably indicative of what he should have enjoyed in his retirement.  He was never home.  Hanging out with his cronies.  Working in this one's yard or that one's basement.  I'd call him twice a day, once in the afternoon and then again around 8PM every night.  And I would do so regardless of whether I was out or not.

One Christmas week, I was visiting good friends on a snowy night all the way up in Rockland County.  When I made the nightly check-in, there was no answer.  At 8PM. Or 9PM.  Or 10PM.  My thoughts traveled to the usual dark side.

"I better go see what's wrong."

My friend drove me all the way down to the Bronx.  I practiced in my mind how to dial the phone digits.

9-1-1.  9-1-1. 

Surely, I would be calling.

As the apartment building elevator inched ever so slowly to the sixth floor, all we could hear was the theme song from M*A*S*H.  The reruns played every night on WNEW Channel 5 at 11PM. 

"Suicide is painless...."

Who the hell was playing their TV so freakin' loud?

When the elevator door opened in front of my dad's apartment, I knew.

"What the hell are you doing here?  I'm watching M*A*S*H."

So we know.   So does everybody in the tri-state area.  Er, how come you didn't answer the phone, Dad?

"It never rang."

Oh, yes, it did.  Except you couldn't hear it because your TV volume can be heard all the way to Fort Fucking Lee in New Jersey.

And so the familial circle had been completed.  The slippery slope had begun.

Soon thereafter, Dad started to have problems walking.  Did he check with a doctor about this?  Of course not.  He had fashioned his own diagnosis for the pain in his leg.   He blamed it on some poor radiation technician who obviously had screwed up.

"When I was going for that machine, the guy messed up.  The thing moved and burned a hole in my leg."

Yeah, whatever.  The distress led to the leg breaking in two.  Metastasized tumors as a result of a returning prostate cancer will tend to do that.  He wound up in the hospital for three weeks after a metal rod was inserted.  The healing process in Mount Vernon Hospital was a painful one.  When you get off the elevator and can recognize a familiar screen from several halls away, you don't lose that memory easily.

My father lived with a walker for the rest of his time.  Plus, since he insisted on living on his own, the insurance company requested that he get daily help in the apartment.  They sent him a young Black kid who dutifully showed up every weekday.  He was there to help out Dad, who wanted no help.

"What am I supposed to do with this colored guy?"

Maybe he could clean the kitchen?  Make your lunch?  How about unpacking some of those boxes still strewn all over your living room?

My father would have nothing of it.  The two of them sat all day together watching television.

I did what I could do to help.  Luckily, he had friends who "aired him out" several days a week.  There was always somebody at the ready to take him to the super market or for his chemo treatments at the doctor.

I've written before about one excursion that I did adopt for myself.  A lasting and final good memory of my dad...

It was the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend and I was off. I decided to give Dad's buddies the week off. I'd do the honors of acting as driver for the day. It was the least I could do for his pals who had so diligently helped him over the years.

As I helped him out of the doctor's office and into the car, I wondered what was next in the weekly routine. Even when he was ill, my father was always all about a consistent schedule of events. I asked him what happens next.


"Well, we usually go get something to eat."

Where?

"White Castle."

I was perplexed. There wasn't one nearby in Mount Vernon.

"No, we go to the one down on Allerton. Where we used to go."

Oh. All the way down there, I thought.

Yes, all the way down. And I shouldn't have questioned it for a single moment.

My father and I sat one more time in that parking lot. The car hops were gone, but I brought the food out of the restaurant. And we chomped down on five or six sliders as if the years had morphed all together into a single second.I didn't know it that day, but it would be the very last meal I would share with my father. 

Eventually, he wound up back in the hospital and his doctor discretely shared with me the ultimate and sad prognosis.  His final days would have to be spent in a Mount Vernon nursing home.  Dad thought it was a rehab place and that he would be back in his apartment before he knew it.

One Saturday, my mother and I were visiting him.  The Black orderly asked us to leave the room so Dad could be bathed.  The curtains were drawn and, since the slightest movement gave him waves of intense pain, my father screamed again.  And took out his anger on the orderly.

With multiple doses of racism as if it was an extreme sport telecast on ESPN.  The "N" word was used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective.  I cringed with every syllable.

When the orderly was done and came out into the hall, I felt the need to apologize.  

"Um, he's not really like that."

Well, he was a bit.  But not to the, no pun intended, "Nth degree."  The orderly was incredibly gracious.

"Hey, no big deal.  He's a nice guy.  He told me to do a good job dressing him because he had a funeral to go to."

I looked at my mother with a bit of foreboding.  I know the funeral he's talking about.

Dad died the very next week.

Despite this blog entry, I don't really dwell on the sad moments that coincided with the final years of my father's life.  I tend to look back on him with humor and will not remember something without laughing.  Much in the same vein as the M*A*S*H incident I recalled above.

Or the time when his back seat driving on a trip home from Shea Stadium made me so angry that I demanded he get out of the car.  On the top of the Whitestone Bridge!  Danny, my best friend from high school, was there as a witness and still talks about that evening.

Or the way he rigged his walker so it could be used as a shopping cart with a special receptacle to hold the New York Daily News and his racing form.

Or the final really big chortle he gave me when I was the one forced to clean out his apartment.  Getting rid of those freakin' boxes he had never unpacked from my grandmother's house.

On this day, Danny was helping me with the project.  In a closet, I found an old suitcase which I recognized from the days when we would have our annual summer family vacation at Atlantic City.

Except the valise was locked shut.

Hmmm?  Why?   Was there something special in here that Dad wanted me to find?  Maybe there was a sign?  Or some hidden treasure?  Or just maybe I had watched too many movies?

Nevertheless, I wanted that suitcase opened and I wanted it open now.  Danny and I did our best to wreck that carry-all's lock.  We finally jimmyed it open with a screwdriver, a butter knife, and, ultimately, my own two feet when they stepped down hard on it.

The suitcase opened.

Inside was....

A brown paper bag full of Japanese money.  Left over from his days there during World War II.

And....

A dozen light bulbs.

This was obviously my dad's survival kit.  If he ever was stuck in a dark Tokyo apartment.

I couldn't help but laugh that day. 

And every single Father's Day ever since.

Dinner last night:  Sausage, peppers, and onions.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Classic TV Theme Song of the Month - June 2018

A little late on this but we remember the late David Cassidy.

Dinner last night:  Super Dodger Dog at the game.