Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Morning in New England...

...and all throughout the region the only sound that can be heard is the ripping up of football cards and the motherfucking of the Patriots for ruining their parlay.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Well, She's Good, She's Lucky, and She's Sicilian - What Did You THINK Was Gonna Happen

Just a quick word to say that our own Very Josephine entered a WSOP satellite tourney, a $250 buy-in Ladies tournament, and finished third, for a payday of over 2500 squeeds. Then she sucked another grand or so out of the house at 21. Congratulations Jo!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Good News From Every Front

Nobody wants to hear someone else's good news. I get it. It's not compelling. If it were, the evening news would be overstuffed with rainbows and unicorn farts. But the thing is,  I got good news coming out of every pore of my body and I have to share it with someone. And I thought, I spent four solid years crying to you all when the good news was in short supply, and all you did was express quiet sympathy and tell me what I couldn't possibly see at the time - that things would get better.

And they did. And with all the blackness that I exposed to you, you deserve a little bit of the light.

So, medical stuff first. As of Friday I'm down to 223.8 pounds, precisely 10 pounds from my last weigh-in in April. As near as I can figure I weighed around 305 at my heaviest (I figure around 280-285 at the time of the stroke but I can't be sure) so that would put my total weight loss at just over 80 pounds.

This has finally started paying some real dividends. My A1c, a long-term marker of blood sugar, was at 9.0 in January. It was down to 6.6 in April, which is great for a diabetic. Friday it was 5.9, which is almost normal for a non-diabetic person and not even in the range of what diabetics usually have.

As a result my daily insulin requirement has been reduced from 25 units of Lantus (the long-acting once-a-day type) down to 20. Woo-hoo! That's a 20% reduction!

Diabetes is funny. What ends up killing you if you're diabetic is the long-term impact of high blood sugar on your body. It frays and destroys capillaries, which causes circulation problems, which in turn is what makes your feet fall off. It can cut off alternate routes to get oxygenated blood to the heart, or the brain, and make it orders of magnitude more likely that you have a heart attack or a stroke. It causes nerve pain, or perhaps numbness. It can destroy your vision - literally render you blind. It's not a good thing to have.

Which is why I'm so stoked that my A1c is so low. It's like a rolling 90-day average of your blood sugar, and 5.9 means that my diabetes is not causing any damage to my body. And that is a big part of the plan to have a healthy old age.

So that's the diabetes end.  On the blood pressure side of it, my doc took my blood pressure and it was about 90/70, which is at the very bottom of the normal scale. I had been getting light-headed upon standing recently (orthostatic hypotension, for the medical professionals among you) in fact. So the doctor discontinued one of my meds entirely and now I'm "only" taking two different pills for my bp.  I'll call that progress too.

So - less insulin, fewer meds, more weight loss. A VERY good day medically. But no! Wait! There's more!

Because while I was at the doctor's office, I received a phone call that notified me that after four years, six months, one day, one hour and about 20 minutes, my standing as unemployed American is officially over. I got a job - the one I wanted - and couldn't be happier.

These people are basically going to train me to become what they need me to be. I'll start off working the help-desk but will eventually become either of a network architect or network engineer, depending on what I'm good at and what they need more.

They interviewed me basically as a favor to a mutual friend, and apparently I did so well in the interview that they thought it would be better long-term for the company to have me on the payroll, even though my current skill set wasn't a fit for them.

They think they're getting a good man for below market value, and I suppose that's true, but I think what they're doing is taking a chance on a guy who could use a break, and I won't forget that. They're also going to pay me to learn a whole new set of skills - and the accompanying certifications - and I would be a fool to not take advantage of that.

So I will work like a man possessed for them, and show them that they made the right decision, and learn all I can on their nickel, and in a year we'll have another conversation about money, and it will either be made right or it won't - but let's not borrow trouble.

It's an unusual feeling. Everything is breaking my way. Everything! I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never does. Things just keep getting better and better. It's a good feeling to have.

And with that I will close this already-overlong post. Because, as my pal Rob would tell you, there is value in brevity.

Thanks for listening. Go see a doctor if you haven't recently.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Very Josie Guestie Postie

Words fall from Josie's mouth, 'tis said, like flower petals alighting gently on the surface of a pond. As much as I know better, it is still my pleasure to bring those words to you. I will pass along every message, no matter how off-topic, off-color, or off-its-rocker. Please to enjoy. 

Hello All,

I’m in the midst of one of life’s frustrations and since nothing else seems to motivate me, I thought why not the interwebz?

But let me back up and get you up to speed.  Let’s go back to last summer.  I was doing my thang, exercising, eating right and though I’ll never be skinny, I was feeling good and looking hot (what else is new?).  Winter came and so did the pounds.  They started creeping back up, and me?  I avoided the scale.  Until March, that is.  Lo and behold, I’d gained 20 lbs.  Yes TWENTY pounds.  I had to do SOMETHING, but what?

I was looking for something to motivate me, and I thought I’d found the answer.  If you know me at all, you know I am incredibly competitive and I never made a bet  that I didn’t use all my resources to win.  Soooooo…..  I placed a bet at They’re motto is “Get paid to lose weight!”

I had to give them entirely too much information about me, like my habits, how I was planning to lose the weight, if I was using a tracking device like a fitbit, or weight watchers, my height, weight, age, etc etc etc.  You give them all this information, then you tell them how many pounds you are betting you will lose.  In my case I am betting that I will lose 25 lbs.  Based on all that, they offered me a couple of bets.  They’re obviously betting I WON’T lose the weight.  The bet I chose is that I would lose $25 lbs by September 9th.  I am betting $300 that I will do this.  If I actually do it, they will pay me $1,000.  That’s a net of $700 for all you math geniuses out there.  The time frame was 6 months, March to September, which is entirely too long.

So thinking I had plenty of time, I started, then stopped then started again.  Thus far I have lost a whopping 2 lbs and now I’m starting to panic.  I’ve never in my life felt less motivated to lose weight.  WTF?  I have no idea why but the bottom line is, I pay them $50 a month for 6 months and in September they either will or will not send me a check for $1,000.  It’s all up to me.  And you. 

I need your help.  I need accountability, cuz shit, September 9 is TWO FREAKING MONTHS AWAY. 


It’s like I’ve just awakened from a daze.  But the thing is, I can soooooo do this.  I mean it’s a thousand fucking dollars!

So I’m going to post my weight loss here every week and hopefully that number will hit 25 lbs by September 9th.  Ugh.

And not for nothing but my hirsute buddy Gary here has lost like 500 lbs which is very inspiring so why cannot I get out of my funk and do this?  One excuse, erm reason,  is the extreme pain from my knees when I do anything that involves bending them.  (insert dirty joke) I have zero cartilage in both knees but I can still do yoga, walk, do the stationary bike, free weights, etc, so it’s no excuse really.  Plus Gary lost all this weight without exercising. At. All.  Fucking men!  He’s on the “I have diabetes” diet and I’m starting to think I may have to follow suit and just pretend I have diabetes.  (Not really – there will be no insulin shootings to be sure)

So there you have it.  Help Very Josie win her weight loss bet –or- Watch as Very Josie loses her bet and goes postal at  Either way it should be entertaining.  Any tips, thoughts, insight and inspiration would be gladly accepted.

July 10, 2014:  2 lbs lost, 23 to go.

Diet smart.


Something's Coming...

...something you're not going to want to miss. I don't want to give too much away, but the phrase "Sweetheart of the Internets" may safely be invoked here.

Go see a doctor if you haven't lately.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Calling All Cat People

For those of you who don't know, I have a web site called Conversations with Rusty. Rusty is an orange Persian who isn't precisely affectionate, but is kind of like a sometimes-indifferent buddy. I always thought there might be more going on behind those orange eyes of his. One day after trying to con me into feeding him twice in a day, I started writing these down. I enjoy doing them a great deal. I find it easy to write in a conversational style - where the topic can bounce from one subject to the next in seconds, with asides and digressions, a return to a previous topic or two, a definite flow.

This is a super-secret sneak preview of a conversation that is set to run July 1st, I think. If you like it, there's more where that came from. Click the above link and tell all your crazy cat-people friends!

ME: What was all that destruction a few minutes ago? What the hell were you two up to?
RUSTY: That was all Other Cat's fault.
ME: Her name is Maya.
RUSTY: Whatever.
ME: What did she do?
RUSTY: She gave me that look that says, roughly, "chase me through the house until we break a lamp," and off we went.
ME: And one time you can't just go back to sleep?
RUSTY: The blood of my Cheetah ancestors runs hot within me.
ME: You're not related to the cheetah, you idiot.
RUSTY: Look it up. They're in Persia.
ME: That means they're your neighbors, not your freakin' grandparents.
RUSTY: Yeah, well, whoever my ancestors were, YOUR ancestors were scared to death of them.
ME: And oh, how the mighty have fallen.
RUSTY: Superior eye-paw coordination.
ME: Walk on two legs.
RUSTY: See six times better than you at night.
ME: Problem-solving skills.
RUSTY: Over 100 million olfactory nerves.
ME: Opposable thumbs. Game, set, match.
RUSTY: (Pauses) Yeah, that's a good one.
ME: Thumbs rule, man.
RUSTY: I could accomplish great things with thumbs.
ME: What's the first thing you do with them?
RUSTY: You mean, after I choke the shit out of you?
ME: Yes, Rusty, after that.
RUSTY: I'd learn to use the doorknob.
ME: And here I was hoping you'd learn to flush the toilet.
RUSTY: Then I'd get in that drawer you keep the catnip in, and I would never leave.
ME: You degenerate.
RUSTY: Ohh man. Do you have any idea what it's like, to breathe in the vapors of a plant and get high?
ME: Let's go with no.
RUSTY: That's too bad, because it's freakin' awesome.
ME: I can only imagine.
RUSTY: After that, I guess, the sky's the limit. Learn to drive, speaking engagements, develop a following, get elected, and run things my way.
ME: Then annex Austria, I'm guessing?
RUSTY: Hitler jokes are NEVER funny.
ME: Sorry, man, but you were heading off the rails a little bit there. Besides, you'd never be elected, what with your catnip problem and everything...
RUSTY: My reputation would be ruined.
ME: Shamed before the world.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Our own Memphis Mojo is currently one of three remaining players at WSOP Tournament #17, $1000 buy-in Senior's tournament. Heady stuff indeed. Dave, buddy, we're all rooting for you. I'll be railing you 'till the end, or until the Diet Mountain Dew runs out. You can sweat him at

Perhaps with your winnings you'd care to invest in my up-and-coming website, At present our only business is making gratuitous plugs such as this, but we're expanding like the dickens.

Go see a doctor if you haven't recently.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Conversations With Rusty

So I set up a new site, It will have a new conversation every Tuesday and Friday.  I also have a page on the Eff Bee,, which is written in Rusty's voice. If you enjoy these little exercises in stupidity, please feel free to like, share, comment, whatever it is you kids do these days.

As a thank you in advance, here's a super long-term sneak preview of a conversation. It's not due to be released until the 17th of June. Please to enjoy.

ME: Mmmmm.
RUSTY: Wake up.
ME: Mmmm. Sleepin.
RUSTY: I know you're sleeping. Wake up.
ME: Gettoffame Rusty...
RUSTY (pawing STUPID HUMAN's face): Rise and shii-iine...
ME (fully awake): Jesus Christ Rusty! What? What is it?
RUSTY: I'm bored.
ME: I will rip off your lower jaw and wear it like a necklace.
RUSTY: I will slice your chest in a Y shape and make people think you've already had an autopsy.
ME: I will staple a piece of tuna to your forehead and watch you try to get it for hours.
RUSTY: I will lick the same spot on your body until I reach bone.
ME: I will send you back to the shelter.
RUSTY: Wow. Not cool, man.
ME: You were ok with me ripping off your lower jaw but sending you to the shelter is over the line?
RUSTY: Take it back.
ME: Don't be ridic...
ME: OK, OK, I take it back.
RUSTY: Good.
ME: I'm going back to bed now.
RUSTY: You lazy bastard.
ME: You sleep 20 hours a day!
RUSTY: I'm a growing cat.
ME: Your stomach is growing towards the floor, that's true enough...
RUSTY: You calling me fat?
ME: No, I'm just...yes. I'm calling you fat.
RUSTY: That's like calling the black kettle fat.
ME: Gonna want to work on that one.
RUSTY: Why, did I get it wrong?
ME: I'm going back to bed now. If you're still bored, you can take a nap with me.
RUSTY: A nap, eh? Not the worst idea you've ever had. Certainly better than The Kerchief Incident.
ME: I thought you looked good.
RUSTY: I looked like a cowboy with fur.
ME: Wouldn't that be "cowcat?"
RUSTY (lying down): Keep it down, will you? I'm trying to sleep here.
ME: Moo...moooooooo...I'm a cowkitty...mooooo....
RUSTY (drowsily): Very funny...
ME: I'm totally bringing back the kerchief.
RUSTY: zzzzzz.....
ME: Night, cowkitty.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Conversations with Rusty, Episode 4: Stone Walls Nor Iron Bars

ME: No, man.
RUSTY: Why not?
ME: No friggin way, are you kidding me?
RUSTY: Let me tell you something. Cats can't stay cooped up inside. We can only piss in sand for so long. A cat needs to feel grass under his feet.
ME: Well first of all you haven't pissed in sand in four months. You've decided to use the bathtub - where we clean our bodies - as your personal toilet. And we put up with that, because, I don't even know why, because we're half idiots, but we put up with it. But you are not going outside. That's all I need is for you to get run over because you think you can go up against a Buick.
RUSTY: I could take a Buick.
ME: See? That's what I mean. No going outside.
RUSTY: You know, Other Cat wants to go outside too.
ME: Her name is Maya.
RUSTY: Whatever.
ME: And no, she doesn't. She's happy to stay inside and bat the catnip frog around, maybe roll around in a shirt every now and again. You know, CAT STUFF.
RUSTY: "Maya" is a fool.
ME: No she's not! No she is not! She's a CAT. She doesn't argue with me! She doesn't try and convince me that Hitler lost the war because he was a dog guy!
RUSTY: So it's insults now, because I take a fresh approach to history?
ME: (sighs) All I'm saying is, you're not going outside. Maya is not going outside. You are staying inside.
RUSTY: You know, the fanciest prison in the world is still a prison.
ME: Just stop it.
RUSTY (walking away): Noboooody knows... the trouble I've seen.....

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Conversations With Rusty

I have started a new thing on the Eff Bee, wherein I have conversations with my cat Rusty. The first two are pretty short:

RUSTY: Hey. It's time for my god damned dinner.
ME: I fed you like two hours ago.
RUSTY: I know. I was counting on the fact that you'd forget.
ME: Why would you do that?
RUSTY: Works about twice in seven days, actually.
ME: You're kidding me!
RUSTY: And we have this conversation about every other time. But I just roll on my back and show you my belly, and you forget all about it. Like this.
ME: Awww, that's so cute. Who's a cute boy?
RUSTY (to himself): Thaaaat's right. Jump through the hoop!

RUSTY: So, thanks for the food and everything. I got you a little something.
ME: Oh, thanks buddy. That's awfully nice of...
RUSTY: You like it?
ME: Where's, uh, where's its head?
RUSTY: That's MY business.
ME: Dude, that's gotta go.

(STUPID HUMAN throws mouse out the back door into the woods)

RUSTY (after a pause) That was a GIFT, you son of a bitch. Good luck finding where I piss tonight.
And now, making its world premiere, Episode 3. Not on the Eff Bee, nowhere but here, an exclusive for my bloggy-boo pals. 

RUSTY: Look, all I'm saying is that I don't really like it when you call me "your pet." Demeans me. Makes it seem like I don't really run the place.
ME: You don't, you idiot. We humans do.
RUSTY: Do you?
ME: Of course we do.
RUSTY: Let me ask you something: When your day begins, where am I?
ME: You're sleeping on my bed.
RUSTY: Leaving behind for the moment the question of whose bed it is, you get ready to start your day, and then what?
ME: Well, nothing. You're usually asleep until 2 in the afternoon.
RUSTY: Precisely. Then I yawn, and stretch, and do what?
ME: You take a piss in the bathtub.
RUSTY: Immediately after which, you do what?
ME: I clean it.
RUSTY: I see.
ME: That doesn't prove anything.
RUSTY: Well, what happens 'round these parts at 6:00 PM?
ME: You whine like a little girl for your dinner.
RUSTY: And what happens if you don't feed me right away?
ME: You wind around my feet until you trip me.
RUSTY (hardens glance for a brief moment): Hurts, doesn't it...(softens glance) but it doesn't often come to that, because why?
ME: Because I feed you.
RUSTY: Because you feed me. And on those rare occasions when your company doesn't bore me to distraction, and I sit down in your vicinity, what happens then?
ME: I pet you, just the way you like to be petted.
RUSTY: In summation, then, you provide me food at my every whim; you provide companionship when I want it and the way I want it; you follow me around and clean up after every emptying of my bladder. Is that about right?
ME (looking down): I suppose.
RUSTY: Who runs the place?
ME: Please don't make me say it.
RUSTY: Who runs the place? I won't ask again.
ME: You do.
RUSTY: That's RIGHT I do. Now break out the catnip; exerting dominance makes me frisky.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The New Me

This is me around August 1, 2010, when I suspect I was at my heaviest. I have to figure I'm an easy 305-310 here:

And this is me today, May 5, 2014:

Granted, the weight came off in chunks. I made a bargain with a friend to lose weight around this time, and the easy 20 came off in the Autumn of that year. Then the stroke took me down to about 265, and since February 1st or so I've lost about another 40 so far (I figure I'm around 228 as it stands right now). That means I've lost more or less 80 pounds since the uppermost pictures.

I guess the best way to describe how I'm doing it is, I'm just paying attention to my Diabetes. I have found that as long as you eat the right foods (or perhaps better put, abstain from the wrong ones), the weight kind of takes care of itself. And since I've realized what had to be done, the weight has just flown off of me. I'm losing about 5 pounds every six weeks, which is to my mind a perfect weight-loss rate.

My mindset toward food has changed on a pretty fundamental level. At this point, I view food as nothing more than sustenance. Now, you skinny people will look at that sentence and ask, with all good intentions, "What the hell else is food, if not sustenance?" Well, most if not all overweight people eat for a myriad of reasons other than hunger, and they know exactly what I mean. Food is a crutch, a friend, a presser of the pleasure button, something to be luxuriated in. I should know - I've been overweight my entire life.  For a fat person to change his attitude toward food so radically, in such a short period of time, is remarkable. I mean, once before I lost a fair amount of weight but it never changed how I felt about food - I just summoned the will to overcome it. Now I just have a different attitude towards it.

In fact, come to think of it, I have a different attitude towards EVERYTHING. I'm no longer the miserable troll eking out a lonely existence in his basement. I'm now a happy, reasonably well-adjusted troll eking out a lonely existence in his basement. But even that might be changing soon. For I have announced to a few choice friends of mine that I am once again looking for gainful employment and hope soon to adopt a more or less normal diurnal rhythm, not entirely unlike most human beings.

It's safe to say that everything about me is changed. And I am really, REALLY looking forward to what the next year will bring. When I think of what I will be in a year - who I will be - I want to press the fast-forward button and be there.

I guess, though, I'll just enjoy the walk, on this bright, bright sun-shiney day.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Requiem: Vincent Astolfi

My father-in-law, Vince, passed away last Thursday morning. His death wasn't unexpected, but my experience is that doesn't often matter a whole lot.

He was in the grip of Alzheimer's, and this particular flavor of it shut off his body quicker than most. Toward the end he was only good for a few words before his battery would wear down. For example our last exchange, this past Christmas, consisted of him saying "Hey, Gary," with perfect clarity. When I answered him, he was unable to say - or to remember - what he wanted to say.

It was very sad to watch. And I knew that I would not be seeing him again when we left.

Vince was a good man, like so many of his generation. He loved his children beyond reason, and sometimes worked two jobs to provide for them. He actually loved all the children of his family, every niece, nephew, and cousin. We remarked after looking through hundreds of pictures just how many were of him holding babies, teasing toddlers, dancing at weddings. He raised his grandson, my nephew, like his own son. If you were a member of his family, you got his unconditional love and support, and that extended to his in-laws.

He was a musician, and a good one. His band made a few radio appearances, even appeared on TV once. I asked him once what he could play, and he told me "I can play anything, as long as it's in A," which is pretty funny if you're a musician.  He had a beautiful 1956 Gibson SJ, in tobacco sunburst with mother-of-pearl inlay on the fretboard. He must have known the value of his guitar, being around other musicians for decades. But when the time came that his teenage son expressed an interest, he unhesitatingly handed it over for his use.  It is still in great condition, and once again in Joey's possession, this time permanently.

I have a picture of him playing it (playing an A chord, of course). It's very cool.

He was a man of very few words, but always the right ones. He would never, and I mean NEVER, use five words when he could use four. But for being so taciturn he wasn't reticent about his love for his family. He would end every interaction with his family, in person or on the phone, with "I love you."

As the disease took him, and he was able to say and do less and less, those near him report that he would sometimes say absolutely nothing during an entire visit, but when it was time to leave he would always say "I love you."

Especially towards the last few months of his life, we weren't 100% sure what he still knew. But he knew he loved his family, by god. Nothing could take that away from him.

Vincent J. Astolfi was 82, and my wife and I will both miss him.

Country Boy Vince

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Last Strokey Update

Yesterday I had an appointment with my neurologist, which consisted of him taking 45 seconds to perform a perfunctory neurological examination and a 10 minute chat, which, yes, did have something to do with my health but mostly concerned itself with our respective plans for Passover. After the conversational Afikomen was recovered and paid for*, he suggested tactfully that I no longer needed his services. So it's official: I am no longer under the care of a neurologist. Woo hoo! So I thought I'd just wrap up the whole stroke thing with a final update about my cerebrovascular health and put it lock stock and barrel where it belongs, in the rear-view mirror.

The main reason why I had the stroke - runaway hypertension - is well-controlled. My diabetes is similarly well-managed. The pain in my left hip has lessened as my weight goes down and the weather turns warmer.

The impact the stroke has had on my life physically is minimal. I have the odd moment where I lose my balance; I would not wish to try my luck on the balance beam or a rope ladder. I have some very small fine-muscle control issues in my left hand. My penmanship has changed; it's not messier than it was before (I doubt that's even possible) but it is different. I can still play the guitar but my repertoire is restricted to campfire singalongs and other fare that doesn't require fingerpicking, soloing, or, you know, talent.

But that's it. In so many ways it's like the stroke never happened. I can honestly say my recovery has been 99% comprehensive. And I'm pleased with that, bet your ass I am.

Anyway, there you go. Thanks for listening. Go see a doctor if you haven't recently.
*If you're a Jew, that's pretty funny, right there.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Good Memory

Editor's Note: I posted this as my status on the Eff Bee, and people seemed to like it, so I thought I'd bring it over here.

Because, if you know anything about me, you know that I can't just post a picture without telling a story:

In 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series, I got it in my head that I needed to be at the park on Opening Day 2005 to see them get their rings and raise the banner. This was a problem as ticket prices, never exactly low, were ridiculously, stupidly high. The finance committee would never approve an outlay of that kind, so I was left to find an alternate plan.

"I know," I thought to myself. "I'll just win this upcoming poker tournament, and the money will flow through my hands like water, and with it I shall purchase two of the hottest tickets in town."

Well, they say the good Lord protects children and fools, and I guess that happened here because that's exactly how it went down. And for $1200, I was given the privilege of purchasing two of, arguably, the worst seats in the house - box 92, row UU, seats 11 and 12. If you know Fenway Park, you know that these seats, rather than facing home plate like baseball seats are suposed to, instead face the center field wall, making you keep your head turned left for three solid hours. But I didn't care; I was in.

Naturally I was beset with friends - real and otherwise - looking for an invitation to be my companion for the day. But I knew pretty much right away whom I was going to invite. The man who gave me my love of baseball in the first place: my father.

As April 11ths go around these parts, it was sunny and warmer than usual. For a miracle we found a place to park and made it in time to watch the ring ceremony and the raising of the World Series banner. That was the day that the Fenway crowd gave Mariano Rivera that sarcastic cheer as a thanks for blowing two saves in the ALCS. As an extra added bonus the Red Sox stomped the Yankees 8-1 that day. It was as close to a perfect day as it gets. It remains one of my life's sweetest memories. Similarly this picture, taken by some corporate yahoo who kept checking his phone and leaving for two innings at a time to buy souvenirs, is one of my most prized possessions.

Thanks for coming with me, Dad.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Two Things That Happened Twenty Years Ago Today

  1. Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.
  2. I got married.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Some news

I wish I could bring you a story of triumph against overwhelming odds, but Josie's godson and nephew Joseph lost his battle on February 27th. Joe was 26.

I was asked to keep this message short but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Joe's last thoughts, at the very end, were of others and not himself. His final words to his loved ones were "At the end of this quest, don't lose your righteousness."

Rest in peace, Joseph.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Change of Mind

I made mention of this on the Eff Bee, so I'll apologize in advance for those who have seen the germ of this post as a status a few days ago, but I thought I'd bring it here and discuss it in a bit more depth, because God knows, if there's a human being alive who is more in love with the sound of his own voice than I, I have yet to meet or even hear of him.

I have had a bit of a change of heart regarding something pretty fundamental. Long-time readers to this little chucklefest will have heard me lamenting the ticking clock, and my inexorable descent into old age, many more times than once. From the first creak of the knee, the first blurry line of text, I have complained about it, loudly and often.

But that's all done, I suspect. Because, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I have had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity.

I'm all done bitching about getting old. Because I've stumbled upon a great truth that had evaded me all my life: The opposite of old is not young. The opposite of old is DEAD. Not only is there nothing wrong with getting old, it's something that one should aspire to.

This epiphany was particularly well-timed.

I recently went to my doctor to check in with him, to get some blood drawn, and to have him cup my testicles - he's got such a gentle touch, after all. What I discovered was that while my weight was down, and my blood pressure was being well-managed, but my blood sugar was up, my cholesterol was up, and I got a benign talking-to about things, and how they could be made better. And everything just kind of clicked.

I have a difficult time with statins - they make my legs stiff and tired, and Ol' Strokey doesn't need any more help making his legs feel bad. So I had, in the past, stopped taking them. Now, I started a much slower process of acclimating my body to them, taking a half-pill every other day, then a half-pill two days out of three. I'm currently up to a half-pill every day, and I hope to titrate my dosage up to a full pill every day soon.

I've also taken a more serious approach to controlling my diabetes. Heretofore I had considered laying off the Boston Creme donuts to be the alpha and the omega of diabetes control. Now, though I can always do more, I'm staying away from the worst things for me: processed flour, white rice, anything that has a high glycemic index.

I'm doing all these things, and more, because I've come to realize something, a completely self-evident truth that a few weeks ago would have been a preposterous thought:

I would very much like to be old.

Thanks for listening. Go see a doctor if you haven't recently.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Favor Granted

I doubt this will come as a galloping shock to any of you but there are few people in the world that mean more to me than my pal Josie. Time and time again she has proven her worth as a human being in ways large and small. She took time off of work to stand by my side at my dad's funeral. She came to see me at the hospital in the darkest days of the stroke, when they didn't yet know whether I was going to live or die. She rubbed coffee on my lips, for Christ's sake. For being such a tiny girl she's got a gigantic heart, and it amazes me.

And now she's asking a favor.

Her godson, nephew Joseph, whom last I saw as he was taking his first steps towards adolescence - a kid with an ever-present smile and a smudge of dirt on his upper lip that was desperately trying to be a mustache - is in a fix at present. He's going to need everything the medical world can muster up to get him through this. And Josie and her sister Cricket went down to Florida to stand by HIS side, because that's what people with gigantic hearts do.

The favor is twofold: she wants people to reprint her blog entry (yes, there's a new post: Garbo speaks!), and she's asking people to donate to her nephew's medical expenses, as he has no insurance. Make no mistake about it: her pain is my pain. So I'm going to ask the same favor of those few people who know me and who might not know Josie: please repost her portion of this post. Spread the word. Joseph needs help - YOUR help. Listen to what she has to say, and do what you can. You'd be doing ME a favor as well as her.

Although I've always loved blogging, I wish to God I wasn't blogging today. I am because this is so very very important to me.

Long time readers of mine know my brother died many years ago. Well this post is about his son, my godson Joseph.

With the exception of Evan, I cannot think of another boy I love more. We were sooo very close when he was small, both before and after my brother's death. He's now a caring, strong man who hasn't had the easiest life and now lives in Florida.

Last week, work be damned, I bought two airline tickets to Florida, booked a seedy (kinda) hotel room, and my sister and I high-tailed to Orlando to visit him.


He has Stage 4 cancer; a very very rare form. They believe it started in his kidney and has now spread to his lung, lymph nodes, bones and bladder, I think. Have I mentioned he's only 26 years old, never smoked, doesn't party or drink? Joseph's idea of partying is ComiCon.

He'd been feeling sick for a while but didn't go to the doctor at first because he didn't (and doesn't) have health insurance. When he finally did, they told him he had tumors and sent him home with a prescription for anitbiotics. (NEVER GET SICK WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE!)

He was in too much pain so returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and again sent home. Again, the constant nausea and pain couldn't be controlled at home so he returned to the hospital.

At that point the best option for him was to go to the Moffitt Center at the University of Florida to get into a clinical trial, but they wouldn't accept anyone who had chemo, so he went untreated for quite a while, hoping to get into the clinical trial.

While my sister and I were visiting him, it was decided he was too ill to travel to the Moffitt Center anyway and the red tape and bull shit to get him in was just ridiculous. So now the wait began for the chemotherapy.

And wait he did.

And wait.

Every day I saw him, his stomache seemed to grow because of the tumors. It surely wasn't because of the hospital food he kept throwing up. We'd try to bring him things we knew he liked to entice him into eating. As sick as he is, he'd still keep trying to eat though it was apparent he didn't want to. The only thing he asked for was Slurpees....Coke and Mountain Dew Slurpees from 7-Eleven.

Can you believe, I'd never gotten a Slurpee before IN MY LIFE and didn't know how to work the machine? Also, I didn't know if the foamy stuff coming out was how it was supposed to work. So I tried another flavor just to see the consistency. So I have cups of Slurpee lined up on the counter in this skeezy part of Florida, and in walks a very tall erm...hooker. Okay, I'm assuming about her profession. And I'm using "her" lightly. According to my sister, she was really a he. And she determined that while waiting for me in the car. I must admit, I wasn't looking at "her" face.

It was weird because here I was with cups lined up half filled with different SLURPEE flavors and the clerks were ignoring me, letting me do my thang, but the second the he/she hooker came in, they stuck by her side till her purchase was made and escorted her out the door. Hmphf. I wouldn't have minded a little Slurpee assistance!

Shit, I got off track.

This post isn't about hookers (although I saw a few others worthy of note) but about dear, sweet, sick nephew Joseph.

He needs your help. I NEED YOUR HELP.

His mom, Rose, has been his advocate and by his side every step of the way. She's a single mother struggling to make ends meet as a social worker and it's impossible to deal with all the costs associated with not having health insurance and being gravely ill. Prescriptions alone are a killer.

Rose's friend set up an online foundation for Joe, called HELP JOE WIN HIS BATTLE.

He set it up on

Please go there and make any donation you can. I realize I may not have hardly any readers anymore, but if I've ever entertained you, pissed you off (lord knows I must've done that) please, please, please do this for me. No amount is too small. Drop a few bucks for my nephew and believe me when I say, your money couldn't be going to a better place.

Oh and when you do, mention that Auntie Josie sent you so he knows who the heck you are.

I'm not done asking for favor yet. Yeah, that effing biatch Very Josie hasn't posted in over a year and here she is asking for favors. It's true.

If you believe in a higher power like Lightning, please say a prayer for Joe and send some positive energy his way.

Lastly, Tony, Lightning, Rob, Poker Grump, anyone with a blog, if you could please re-post this, it would mean very much to me.

I love you all for helping me and Joseph in this time of need.


Very Josie

a/k/a Auntie Josie

PS What's a post without a little gambling talk?

2 things to worthy of note: I was able to pay for all the expenses associated with the trip to see Joseph because I came in first place in both of my football leagues! Yep, that's right baby! First in the "Anyone Wins But Josie" league that I've played in for 5 years. I've come in first in 4 of those 5 years, hence the name of the league. I also joined a friends league for the first time this year. In it you have to cover the spread, which is not my comfort zone but I did it! Out of 75 playas, I came in first! In the spread league, 1st place for the year got me a prize of just over 1K but the fucker hasn't paid up yet. And has stopped returning my emails. Imma fuck him up.

Also, I play in a local poker league. We play about once a month and the big finale is at the super bowl, so we play all year to see who will win first place, a big money prize but also, the highly coveted personalized Playa's Club shirt personalized with the champion's name on it. I was going back and forth, between first and second place for the past couple of months, with the last game of the year being scheduled at the same time as my last minute trip to see Joseph. If you know me, you know I love shit like a winner's shirt, but instead I didn't give it a second thought. Second place is where I wound up but there's always next year. I love the guy who won first place in my absence but he's lucky I wasn't around!

Okay, do it! Now! PLEASE. Donate HERE.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wherein Your Humble Servant Addresses "The Mystery of the Cold Hands"

Jesus Gary! What the hell is WRONG with you? You own six pairs of good winter gloves and you've lost every one of them! Why can you not hold on to a pair of gloves from one winter to the next?

This is not rocket science: WHEN YOU TAKE OFF YOUR GLOVES, PUT THEM IN THE POCKETS OF THE JACKET YOU'RE WEARING! You are 45 years old. Why is it that 6-year-olds have mastered this skill and you have not?

And it's not like this is new behavior for you.  When you were a kid your mother had to tie a piece of yarn to your gloves and thread them through the sleeves of your Mighty Mac. Even then you lost them with regularity! I swear to God, you'd lose your pecker if it weren't attached to you!

Find your gloves. Keep them in your pockets. Because the next time we have to have this conversation, I'll slap you. With a VERY cold hand.