Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Just got word from the doc’s office that all systems are go for ablation.  There are qualifications and puzzles wrapped in enigmas behind the decision, but to hell with those.  Later….


Friends and neighbors, it is so hot that when I try to read, my eyeballs sweat. It is so hot that as I type, my fingers are perspiring, so if this note abruptly terminates in (*^&$(*&*^(*&….you’ll know that the flood dripping off my digits into the keyboard has shorted out the PC. It is so hot that an egg left in a bird feeder would become so hard-boiled it would don a Fedora and start chasing dames and solving crimes with a lit, unfiltered cigarette hanging on its lip. What I’m trying to say is, IT”S HOT!

I just wanted to share some news of an unnecessary sort, though I can’t imagine why on earth you’d be interested. I got two pair of shorts for Fathersbirthday – one madras, one khaki – both with 34″ waists. Since the last surgery, I have been hovering around 170 pounds. With a redistribution of pudge, I have now returned to my collegiate waist size. I guess if the child is father to the man, the man is also father to the child, or something like that. In other words, it seems I am reverting.

this prospect does not bother me in the short-term. As long as I can avoid behaviors like hitting on the babe seated beside me at a Japanese steakhouse and thinking she was enjoying my ten minutes of drunken, righteous patter, only to learn she was deaf, I think I might enjoy some retro blood flowing in my veins. I do, however, want to keep on top of this trend and ask all my friends and readers to keep watch. Please let me know immediately if things go too fast and too far! If you happen to see me around town in a stained white t-shirt, a Ken doll style bathing suit and Keds, sporting a flat-top shining with Butch wax, please push me into the car and take me home. It’ll be time I was staked on a chain in the yard.



Sitting in the Sand

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Many thanks to all who conveyed birthday wishes. As I age, I take a dimmer  view of all the folderal associated with birthdays. Luckily, my birthday is close enough to Father’s Day that we can usually manage to combine celebrations, which we did this year. A big high-five to my family. Still, I reckon birthdays are a lot like bottles of Laphroaig – you really can’t have too many of them.

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As of June 11, the lad is a genuine, honest-to-god, diplomaed high school graduate. This was accomplished amid a flurry of blue nylon robes, white satin ribbons, blue mortarborads, tears, useless (but short) speeches, and the appropriate “Pomp and Circumstance.” We also survived senior beach week with one single desperate call about a personal possession that went missing, only to turn up when it was actually searched for. There were no calls from rental agents, angry parents of girls or the North Myrtle Beach Police. All in all, it sounds like Harry had a better time than I would have had at the same age, but not so good a time as I would have had a few years later, which strikes me as a healthy balance between comparative behaviors. Now, let’s hope to heaven he maintains it.

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Deirds and I also snuck off for a respite at the beach. A week ago Wednesday night, we cashed in on the birthday present I gave myself, which was dinner with my bride at the Collector’s Cafe. This is one of the semi-great eating places in the entire world, and we enjoyed the hell out of it. For those of you unfamiliar with the establishment, it doubles as an art gallery and everything hanging on the walls is for sale. Well, almost everything. The owner complimented my discerning eye for art and agreed that the “Mona Lisa” hanging over the urinal was most likely a reproduction. This is not to say that there haven’t been evenings in my life when I wouldn’t have forked over two bills for the picture and carried it out under my arm thinking that I had just gotten away with the greatest art steal in history. If you think about it , though, either scenario would play equally well on the Antiques Roadshow – some goober coming onto the set with the real “Mona” or some doofus expressing dismay when told that his “Mona” is a cheap reproduction. Great TV, what?

Mornings on the sand were a supernatural delight. Everybody was feeling out of sight, including me. Thursday morning, I enjoyed one of those moments when every good thing that has ever happened in life suddenly wash over you like a lottery win. I was strolling along, smiling at the people I met, listening on my ipod as the Tower of Power told me to make someone happy and let love into my heart. Focusing on trying to scroll through the list of artists on my pod, I almost fell atop a glistening young babe in a wispy black bikini (there’s a Roger Corman B horror flick for you – some saggy baggy geezer in crocs dripping 50 SPF baby-approved suntan lotion flopping on unsuspecting beach beauties!). Without further mishap, I found the one song that would transform a penultimate moment into an ultimate one. Here came the jangly piano chords, followed by a few notes struck on a vibraphone, then Jackie Gore and the Embers started singing “Far Away Places.”

Friends and neighbors, I know there are other beach music songs. There are probably better ones. There are songs, for me, even more evocative of the beach. For instance, I have only to hear a few notes of Jackie Ross singing “Selfish One” and I am instantly back on the deck outside the Footlong beside the Galleon, more than slightly hung-over, drinking Buds with my buds, gagging down fries and a chili dog with onions and slaw, blistering, wearing cut-off khakis, wanting a boost of energy to ride out the rest of the day and night, endangering (in my mind, at least) the hearts and psyches of all the eager, eligible babes on display. If I had a nickel for every time I said I was going to hit on some honey, then didn’t, Bill Gates would be my shoeshine boy. In other words, there may be other contenders for the crown, for my money,  “Far Away Places” will always be the perfect beach music song! And I will punch in the face anyone with the temerity to suggest otherwise (by this challenge, I mean only to express the hope that the punchee, whoever he or she may be, will, after pulverizing me, buy me a drink).

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On initial examination, the helpful, people-friendly medical pencil pushers at Blue Cross have determined that my scheduled procedure is “exploratory” and therefore not covered. “Exploratory” here means about the same as if you  crawled into bed with your wife in an “exploratory” way: you know exactly what you’ll find – the only question is how will she react? I am still set for pre-op on Wednesday, and the procedure on Monday, assuming my docs and the robotic minions at Blue cross can work it out. I will keep you posted.

Save the last dance for me, dudettes and dudes,


Birthday Post

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm

“They say it’s your birthday\Happy birthday to ya.”

            – Lennon/McCartney

Well, yeah……

I have never really been able to get too pumped up about my own birthday. 16, 18 and 21 were red-letter days for real reasons. 29 was a bad birthday for the thought of turning 30 the next year, but 30 turned out to be not that big a deal.  Otherwise, birthdays have seldom been much different in my mind from other days of the year.

The reason for this derives from my upbringing. Every birthday brought gifts and a cake, and my brother and sister and I each had a major tenth (or was it sixth?) birthday party, but little else made the days distinctive.

At the root of this lack of hoop-la was an attitude best expressed by my father one time, though in a slightly different context. We were talking about life expectancy – Iwanted to know didn’t he think it was fabulous that he might live to see the turn of the century!! He said that when he was a child, he really did want to live that long, but later came to see it would not mean that much. He said, in effect, “Things you achieve simply by living are never as important as things you have to work for to achieve.”

Then, in a wistful moment, he added, “I would like to live long enough to see Halley’s comet.”

As things turned out, he did not live long enough to see the turn of the century. He did live long enough to see Halley’s comet. Ironically, though, by the time the comet arrived, Dad’s Alzheimer’s had progressed to the point where he would not have known what it was he was seeing even if he had been able to see a faint smear of light on the nightly horizon.

This happens to be my third birthday since the diagnosis of my cancers. Some might consider my surviving this long with my particular cancers to be an accomplishment. But I do not view it that way any more than I can view my daily life as a battle against the disease. I simply been try to live day-to-day as best I can, and that is what a person should do, regardless of their circumstances.

To the entire extent there is an accomplishment here to be celebrated, the praise and appreciation belong to my doctors and their staffs and personnel at Baptist, Duke and Lexington hospitals and to the oncology clinic here in Lexington. Even greater praise and appreciation should go to my friends, colleagues and my family, particularly Deirdre and Harry. They have endured an awful lot while having to live as though a black cloud were not always hanging on the horizon, and they have done a remarkable job doing it well and taking care of me.

Looking back over my life, I can say that truly special days have been special only because they were made that way by the people I love. Today is a special day – a truly special day – and I am grateful.

Thank you, Deirdre. Thank you, Harry. Thank you, friends.

PS  Thanks to my sister for the  traditional call this morning.

Advice Needed!

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

On July 24, 2004, excavators at a site in Getsomeh, reputedly a sister city of Sodom and Gomorrah, uncovered a cache of documents amid the rubble of what archeologists determined was the town privy. Most of the manuscripts turned out to be ancient pornography of the Penthouse “Letters” variety: “….hooketh up with Meersheba, her sister Ballithia and a goat….;” “…and Peter groaneth and the earth moveth….” One manuscript, however, appeared Biblical in nature and proved to be a copy of the Book of Benobias, a scribbling of dubious origin. It was tastefully and understandably omitted from the Canon at the Council of Nicaea.

Translation of the document has been impeded by its sorry condition. Worm-eaten, rotten, stained by wine and other substances, with segments torn into strips, the book was apparently read and then put to use in the latrine, in the manner of a newspaper in an old-fashioned outhouse. The diligent work of translators has been rewarded with weird texts on a variety of subjects ranging from bilious screeds against the greed of Roman tax collectors to a barley and scorpion mash recipe for what can best be described as a “hang-over cure.” One segment that stands out is a lecture of sorts to a young man leaving home.

Benobias, Chapter 7, begins:

“1 Let not the fruit of thy loins setteth out on the footpath without thy havingrendered unto him the wisdom of thy age and a hearty push.

2 Sayeth thou to him, accepteth not shekels of wood, verily though he that touted them claiment they be hewn from the Cedars of Lebanon.

3 Though thy belly grumbleth and thy brow be parched, taketh not thyrepast at an inn nameth Mom’s.”

The chapter drones on and on in a fashion that would have bored even the windbag Polonius, but you get the idea.

I mention the above because today is June 10, 2011, a day notable only because it is the eve of Harry’s graduation. God willing, the creeks don’t rise and the authorities don’t intervene, in roughly 28 hours his parents will become the parents of a high school graduate. As a now experienced father, I am fully aware that some genetic development code renders teenage boys utterly oblivious to paternal counsel, and that the switch activating that code will not switch off for at least a few more years. Consequently, I am asking friends, family and assorted ne’er-do-wells to share whatever nuggets you have in your “what a young man ought to know” chest of maxims. For an example, if one is needed, let me share a botched and probably mis-remembered version of the opening lines to Michener’s The Drifters, which have stayed with me since I read them in 1973:

Never pick up a girl before noon – if she’s so beautiful, what is she doing out of bed before noon?

Contribute by email or post, or even email Harry directly at

Keep keeping on, dudes of all sexes!


The Whines, They Are A’ Changing

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm

We are out of kitchen matches and I wanted to light a candle to mask some noxious and obnoxious odors in the kitchen. After spending about ten minutes sniffing around the trash cans, refrigerator and cabinets, I remembered that I recently ate pintos. Still, the smell needed to go.

The candle in question is one of those glass jar, boutique jobs. They emit aromas that are supposed to remind you of the October air in County Cork, Spring Shoulders or the alley behind a leather shop. They typically remind me only that women are radically different from men of a certain gender (I mean decorative pillows on the bed – come on!).

Being a low wick in a glass jar candle is a lot like being head of the Federal Reserve – it’s hard to get fired. I considered dropping a lit piece of paper into the jar, but that would have been weird and messy. And not even I am nuts enough to hold a glass jar upside down over a burner flame on the stove. Finally, some bamboo skewers caught my eye. That’s the ticket, I thought.

So I lit one end of a bamboo skewer planning to use it to light the candle, and that’s when it hit me. I was immediately transported back it time. It was an era of peace and love, of shag carpets, lava lamps, tie-dyed t-shirts and uncut hair. I was in a smoky room with a frizzy-haired woman who dug hump-backed whales and wore black  eye-liner so thick a drunk could walk it and avoid being charged with DWI.  I was listening to Jefferson Airplane . My reverie was interrupted by the  thought, Wait a second! This can’t be me!! I was a gator shirt and khaki kind of guy (though my khakis came from the Army-Navy Store, not L.L. Bean). I wore topsiders, drank Bud and grooved to the Artistics singing, “I’m Gonna Miss You.”

Even so, despite my button-down life,I was not unfamiliar with the scents that wafted from the dorm rooms of more “happening” friends.  What I need to confess, however, is not past indiscretions, but is instead the Duh Huh moment inspired by the lit bamboo. You know what a Duh Huh moment is, don’t you? It’s the instant the dust settles, the sky clears, and you suddenly know the obvious answer to a question that has been stupidly and idly nagging you for years. In my strobe-lit flashback to simpler times, I met with a luminous truth…..the sense of the scent, you might say. Did you know that burning bamboo incense smells exactly like burning bamboo??

Duh Huh!!!!!!

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I woke up this morning to find the news folks all a-twitter about Twitter and a story that falls squarely in the category of “Name Equals Destiny.” A congressman is in trouble.   A pic of an “anonymous” male in his underwear sent from the congressman’s Twitter account to a young woman. He claims the indecent exposure by proxy is the work of an unknown hacker.  Regardless, he will not answer questions about his having a Twitter relationship  witha young woman n The young woman insists he has never acted inappropriately.   The congressman’s name: Weiner! Low as I like to go, even I would be embarrassed to make this one up.

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I visited Lexington Orthopedics yesterday, a statement that implies one of two things: 1) during the last two and a half years I have developed a craving for the company of doctors, nurses, technicians and other patients (“medicophilia” I think they call it) and needed a fix; or, 2) I hurt myself. I can reassure you that I hurt myself.

Before you start thinking that I’m playing a mournful violin for a litany of ailments, know that I could not lift an “air violin” even if I wanted to.  Only republican, presidential hopefuls do not learn something new every day, and since I am not a hopeful, I yesterday learned that you do not have to play sports to get sports-associated ailment. What will you bid me for a torn rotator cuff?

The how of the injury is thoroughly uninteresting. Suffice it to say that I developed iincreasing difficulties with normal, every-day gestures, such as reaching for my wallet. I tried to scratch behind my ear and fell to the floor writhing in pain. Had I been a member of the royal wedding party, those folks would have thought me a bit snobbish for failing to wave to the teeming throng. And did I mention my ailment is  exacerbated a bit of newly diagnosed arthritis?

“Gordo” Kammire shot me up with enough steroids to qualify me for the Tour de France, if it were run this week. I have stretching exercises for the shower. I can still do curls, but needed to reduce the weight I lift, so I shaved my fore-arms and  knuckles and cut off my sleeves. With the grace of God and Mr Aberfeldy, this strenuous regimen should restore me to a much more vibrant state of inertia.

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At the LSHS spring sports banquet last night, the lad trumped his father by winning something I never did – a genuine, honest-to-god sports award, to wit, “most  improved” on the baseball team!! Now, having survived the sports banquet and the last exam, maybe we got a shot at graduation on June 11.

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Otherwise, I’m still in a holding pattern awaiting scheduling of the ablation. I hope this doesn’t wind up like waiting for the rapture or Godot!

 The Funky One