Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm Moving

Now some of you probably read the title and thought I was moving to Hawaii or something. That would be a good assumption since I love the beach and I move frequently.

I'm happy to say that I'm not moving (at least for the moment), but my blog is. I've decided to move my blog to Word Press. It seems a bit less clunky to use and a little more mac friendly. There are some things I like about blogger better, but what the heck, I thought I'd give WP a try. Here's the new link:

This is my last posting to this blogspot site. For new postings to to the above URL.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Search for Intelligence

While most people spend tens of thousands of dollars and endless hours of their time in pursuit of degrees in higher education, I decided to take a more simple approach to gaining knowledge.

The other day while at Whole Foods searching for a drink to compliment my dinner selection, I stumbled across a beverage called Brain Toniq. Intrigued by its clever name and simplistic label, I grabbed a can and began reading about the contents of this peculiar drink. I discovered that Brain Toniq is a clean and intelligent think drink. It contains no caffeine, no processed sugar and no fake anything. And for all my Jewish friends it’s also kosher-certified. I thought “What the heck, I’ll try it.” After all $1.49 seems like a small investment in my education compared to the people I know who spent a lot more than that and don’t appear to be any more intelligent for all their effort.

While waiting for my friends to check out, I grabbed us a table next to three young high school students. They had their textbooks out and appeared to have just finished studying. I asked them if they felt like they were learning anything and they shrugged their shoulders, giggled a little and finally one of them said, “I guess.”

“School is fun, but I have a new way of learning,” I told them as I held up my can of Brain Toniq for them to see. “I’m going to drink this and it’s gonna make me smarter,” I said rather enthusiastically. They looked at me a little dumbfounded and then to each other, not really sure how to respond. At that point, I said, “Well it was nice chatting with you. Good luck with school,” then I proceeded to get napkins and utensils for our table.

Soon after, my friends arrived and we began to eat. I was definitely more excited about my drink than my dinner. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I had the urge to sprinkle the can over my head rather than imbibe it. But, I chose to drink it instead.

The first thing I noticed was that Brain Toniq tastes really good. The taste actually caught me by surprise because things that are supposed to be good for you don’t usually taste good. And I really, really enjoyed the sweet, citrus taste of it.

The second thing I noticed was…well, nothing. I didn’t feel any different. Was that just my brain playing tricks on me? Maybe I should have taken a before and after test to see if my IQ changed. With higher education you have lectures, homework, exams etc. as sort of measuring sticks to gauge your learning experience. With Brain Toniq, well, you just drink it.

I guess only time will tell if the drink had any affect on me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Monkey Poop and Evolution

When meeting new people who are from different countries and are learning English, I like to ask them off-the-wall questions to relax them and take their mind off their language struggles. A few weeks ago I was talking to a girl from Costa Rica and the conversation went something like this.

“Costa Rica is a lot different from South Florida, I’ll bet you have a lot of different types of trees, plants and animals. Did you have any monkeys running around your neighborhood where you grew up?”

“In the rain forest there are lots of monkeys,” she replied giving me a puzzled look.

“What do the monkeys do?” I asked curiously.

“They throw poop at you!” she said with a smile.

“Excuse me, did you say poop?”

“Yes, poop” she mimicked pointing to her butt then pretending to throw imaginary poop.

“Gee, I really didn’t expect you to say that. I really saw this conversation going in a different direction,” I laughed hysterically.

We spend the next several minutes laughing, discussing monkeys and some of the other finer things about Costa Rica. But our monkey conversation stuck with me.

Later that evening I began to contemplate the monkey’s behavior and I started thinking about all the scientists who believe in the theory of natural selection and how we evolved from apes.

I don’t have the foggiest idea why monkeys would throw poop but I can imagine they might exhibit that behavior when they feel threatened or territorial. I don’t know about you, but when I feel that way, the last thing I think about doing is defecating and throwing my poop at someone. It’s just not a natural instinct for me. And I’m pretty confident that none of my relatives would do that either. Okay, maybe I can envision one person, but that’s all.

So, I came up with my own theory. I believe Darwin must have taken a trip to Costa Rica and one day while he was walking through the rain forest, he got hit in the head by monkey poop which left him traumatized and greatly affected his judgment thereafter. The experience caused him to have strange dreams and soon he believed the monkey to be his great great great great great great grandfather.

Later in life Darwin’s trauma began to fade and he started to come to his senses about natural selection when he said “To suppose the eye with all its inimitable different contrivances for adjusting true focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”

Or more simply put. “Monkey see, monkey do. Human see monkey do, human not do. Therefore the natural selection theory is a bunch of monkey poop.”

Random Observation #3

Have you ever wondered why some tires wear out faster than others? At first I thought it might be the extreme Floridian heat that melted some of the weaker spots in my tire. Then I thought the no-see-ums could be the culprit. Although I’ve never seen them, I’ve seen what they can do to flesh.

Luckily before curiosity got the best of me, I discovered the colorful tire-eating bug that explained the mystery.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Great Weigh-In

One of the things I truly enjoy doing is attending events that allow me to experience some of the local culture to which I’m not familiar with. Yesterday, a friend of mine invited me to a ‘weigh-in’. My mind was thinking “you’re too thin to be doing weight watchers,” but what came out of my mouth was “what exactly is a weigh-in?”

“A fishing contest. People weigh the fish they catch for the contest. There are different categories, age groups and prizes for the fishermen,” she explained.

My thought process went something like this: “That really doesn’t sound like something fun to watch. But, she does seem excited about it so there’s gotta be something to it. Hey, Jesus hung out with fishermen, maybe I should too. It’s gonna be like 200 degrees outside, will there be air conditioning? I hope it’s not going to be stinky fishy smelling. Okay, I’ll go. Would you be totally embarrassed if I brought my camera and acted like a tourist?”

Then I imagined what this event might look like. I envisioned a wooden platform on a pier with men dressed in wool coats, wearing ties, standing next to a 10 foot tuna hanging from a scale, and holding a sign with the weight of the fish on it. Of course all of this was in black and white, just like all the old-school photographs hanging on the walls of the various seafood restaurants I’ve been to.

When we approached the parking lot I asked, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but is this a redneck contest? I’d really like to experience something redneck.”

“Nah, this is fishermen stuff. You have to go more inland to see redneck stuff,” she said a little surprised by my question and probably thinking, “Dumb Yankee.”

The first thing I noticed upon approaching the event was the small metal bleachers that provided the only shade to us curious spectators. Naturally, I made a beeline for the bleachers. My first impression of the event was that it was much smaller and less organized than I anticipated it would be.

There was a table which the fishermen officially entered their catch and next to it a scale. To the right of the scales, there was a large white leader board displaying the top 8 leaders in the 4 categories: Kingfish, Dolphin, Wahoo and Juniors. Names were continually added and removed as the fish came in and were weighed.

After studying the leader board, I casually mentioned to my friend “I think it’s nice that the leaders name their fish.” My comment caused the man sitting next to me to chuckle.

“She’s not from around here,” my friend explained to the man.

“Those are the boat names,” she grinned.

“Oh,” I studied the board, “that would explain why some of the people share the same name.”

I have to admit, it didn’t take me long to get thoroughly engaged in what was happening around me. Maybe it’s my curious nature or just the fact that I’m easily amused. Whatever the reason, I had fun.

You’re probably wondering, what happened at the weigh in? Basically, fishermen pulled up to the docks, unloaded their catch and escorted their fish to the scales. A local radio host emceed the process and rallied the crowd into guessing the weights of the fish by handing out prizes to the best guessers. Now I pride myself on being a great guesser, but guessing answers to the question "Guess what?" is much more my forte than guessing weights. Much to my dismay, I walked away prizeless. Not that it was a bad thing cause I honestly have no use for fishing gear.

So what did I think of my first weigh in? I thoroughly enjoyed watching the anticipation on the fishermen’s face as they waited to see if their catch was the winner. It was fun to watch the kids try and hand off fish that were bigger than they were. It was definitely a great people-watching event.

I felt sorry for the fish though. I’m sure it’s because I had an aquarium in my office for 20 years. I secretly was happy when the winner of the contest flipped the fish over his back and the fish’s tooth gashed his ankle. “Yea, fish, way to get even.” I was also happy when no Wahoo’s were caught. “Way to go Wahoo’s for eluding all 200+ fishing boats.”

Will I attend another weigh in? I honestly don’t know.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reason #152 Why Hands Free Devices Should be Required While Driving in Florida

You know the old saying, pictures speak louder than words. Well this photo doesn’t require a lot of words.

Old man driving + talking on cell phone = bye bye mail boxes.

All I can add is...good thing he was in a parking lot.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tribute to Mags

Below is my tribute to a dear friend, Maggie. I graduated college with her daughter and shared a few colorful moments with her in my b.c. days.

R.I.P. 02/18/32 - 03/29/10

Maggie was a wonderful woman, devoted mother, dedicated teacher, patriotic American, diehard Michigan fan and a faithful friend. She had a heart of gold and was quick to help someone in need. She volunteered her time freely, whether it was campaigning for the rights of the handicapped or serving the veterans or homeless. She loved her children deeply and cherished her friendships.

She always enjoyed a good laugh, even if it was at her own expense. I had the great fortune of experiencing quite a few laughs with her. One such occasion sticks out in my mind the most.

Mimi and I graduated in the morning and were going to meet early that evening at the Dash Inn for a few celebratory margaritas and some dinner. The Dash was a dumpy, little, student hangout that was more famous for its margaritas than the food. Hence the place was always packed with students and the atmosphere quite boisterous.

Maggie and my mom had gone off shopping that afternoon and arranged to meet us at the Dash. Well, Mimi and I arrived on time, but our moms were nowhere to be found. After a half hour or so, we began to get concerned. Now mind you this was in the day before cell phones, so after using the pay phone to call our respective homes and getting no answer, all we could do was wait.

After about 45 minutes or so we heard Maggie yelling “Whoopee”. We turned to look and saw her and my mom stumbling towards us, followed in tow by some greasy looking dude who looked like he hadn’t showered for several days. Mimi and I looked at each other and started laughing. Our moms were not just a little buzzed; they were highly intoxicated. They pulled up chairs and to our surprise, the greasy looking dude did too.

“So, who’s your friend?” I asked my mom.

“This is Dave. Dave lives in his van,” she laughed.

“That’s nice,” I replied. “How did you meet him?”

“He works at Safeway,” was her answer.

“Where have you guys been all day?” Mimi wanted to know.

Maggie defiantly replied, “We don’t need to tell you. We can have fun too. Whoopee, Whoopee!”

Well, shortly after their arrival, Maggie decided she had to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was only large enough to fit two stalls and one small sink and there was generally a line outside the door waiting to get in. The bathroom was thoroughly disgusting, to say the least. The white linoleum floors were black from dirty footprints and spilled beer, the toilets were stained yellow from cigarette smoke, the bright pink walls were graffitied, and the room smelled like stale cigarettes and beer.

As Maggie was in the bathroom, our conversation at the table turned to Dave as Mimi and I were curious who this guy was and my mom was no help at all because she couldn’t stop laughing. What she was laughing at, I’ll never know. After a while, we became concerned for Maggie since she hadn’t returned from the bathroom and she’d been gone for an abnormally long period of time.

I decided to go check on her. I cut past the people in line, opened the door and yelled “Maggie, are you in there?”

“Whoopee,” I heard.

“Are you alright?”

“Whoopee”, I got again. I chuckled and returned to the table.

Several minutes later Maggie finally reappeared at the table.

“What happened in there?” Mimi asked.

Maggie proudly said, “I had a hard time getting these off the toilet” as she reached into her purse and produced four disgustingly yellow bolt caps from the base of the toilet.

You see, Maggie had just purchased her house at the Lakes and was in the process of renovating her home. Apparently her toilet was missing some bolt caps.

“MOTHER, THAT’S GROSS!” Mimi exclaimed in horror.

“I’ll boil them! I’ll boil them!” Maggie laughed.

The whole table bursted out laughing. We tried to convince Maggie to put them back and even offered to buy her some at the local hardware store.

“I’ll boil them, I’ll boil them. Whoopee!” she joyfully proclaimed.

Needless to say, we had quite a lot of fun laughing and trying to figure out what happened to our moms between graduation time and dinner. We never really did find out.

I’m sorry to say that Maggie did take toilet bolts home with her that evening. I don’t know if she ever ended up using them, and I honestly forgot to look the next time I visited her home.

Maggie was always good for a laugh, whether it was watching her smoke horse sh*t cigarettes in Mexico, tubing down the Salt River or just hanging out, drinking a Budweiser with her.

Thanks for your friendship and the wonderful memories, Mags. You’ll be missed and I’m glad to have known you.

With love,


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spinning Thoughts

Recently, I’ve started attending a spin class at the local gym. I consider myself a novice in this sport and am still trying to decide whether or not it’s a sport for me. For those of you not familiar with spinning, it’s an aerobic exercise class where a group of people sit on specially designed stationary bikes, while listening to motivating music as an instructor yells out directions to the riders to simulate outdoor riding. The goal of the class is to burn calories and tone muscles, which seems like something I ought to be doing.

I thought I’d share what I actually think about while I’m on the bike.

While adjusting the bike:

“Okay, I can do this. This will be fun. I’m going to get in great shape.”

“Lord, help me to stay on the bike for the full hour.”

“Did I adjust this thing right? The people next to me seem to be peddling easier than me.”

“Geez, this classroom is cold, maybe I should have brought a sweatshirt.”

While warming up:

“I hope the instructor isn’t a masochist.”

“Come on legs, loosen up, you’ll feel better in a couple of minutes. Just keep peddling.”

“So far, so good. This isn’t so bad.”

5 minutes into the class:

“Phew, I’m starting to get hot already. Did someone turn off the air conditioning?”

“Is the clock on the wall broken? Surely, I’ve been riding for more than 5 minutes.”

“How come the people sitting next to me look so happy? Is there something going on that I’m not aware of?”

10 minutes into class:

Instructor: “Okay class, now that we’ve warmed up, are you ready to get started and have some fun?!”

Class: “Whahoo, yeah!”

“That was just the warm up? How can they think this is fun? This is work and I’m hot, sweaty and ready to get off already. Uh oh, I still have 50 minutes left.”

Random thoughts during class:

“I wonder if anyone has ever passed out in class? Will I be the first? Has anyone ever died while spinning?”

“I think my instructor may actually be insane.”

“I’ve been peddling for a ½ hour now and I’m still in the same spot!”

“Oh wow, I can’t remember the last 15 minutes. Did I have an out of body experience that I don’t remember?

“Who’s that 80 year old lady, smiling and singing to the music and having a great time on the bike? Hey, she’s peddling faster than me and doesn’t even look tired. Clearly she has dementia and doesn’t know where she is right now.”

“How fast can the human heart beat before it has a heart attack? Is my instructor CPR certified?”

“If you ask me to increase the resistance again, I’m gonna come over there and push you off your bike. You’re not human!”

“My legs are heavy and feel like jello and my lungs are going to explode! I wonder what exploding lungs look like?”

“Does anyone else in this class feel as bad as I do right now? I’m really not having any fun.”

“What is wrong with that stinking clock?! This class has been going on for two hours already. The instructor better cut it off at 60 minutes because I’m not spinning one more minute than I have to.”

“It’s really freaking hot in here. You people are sucking up all my air. Stop breathing so hard.”

During the cool down period:

“You can do this, just 5 more minutes.”

“I hope my legs don’t give out when I get off the bike. That would be really embarrassing.”

“Are my endorphins broken? I really don’t feel energized right now.”

Class over:

“I’m still alive. Yeah!”

“Why am I doing this?”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Protect Punxy Phil

Groundhog Day has always been a special day in my family. Each year we eagerly await Punxy Phil’s winter weather prediction, believing his prediction to be more accurate than the Farmer’s Almanac.

This year it has come to my attention that the PETA animal rights activists are advocating that Punxy Phil be replaced with a robotic groundhog, stating that Groundhog Day is too stressful for Phil. Nonsense, I say.

Two years ago I had the good fortune of meeting Phil up close and personal. Whether it’s due to his celebrity status or just plain good looks, I can emphatically state that Phil is one pampered animal. He's extremely comfortable, if not curious about his fans. His handlers are very protective of him and give him better care than he’d get if he lived in the woods.

PETA, let Phil have his day!! Let him bask in glory at Gobbler’s Knob. You can’t replace the real thing with a fake. Who knows what kind of global warming a robotic groundhog would cause.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girls from Ipanema Take a Road Trip

Spotted in front of the police station in Savannah, Georgia, the Girls from Ipanema were seen enjoying a relaxing day of sight seeing. An unlikely duo, but great traveling companions, the girls set out on a more than 1300-mile road trip in early January. The 20-hour trip from Connecticut to Florida should have been a two day trip. However, being from Ipanema and not all that familiar with the cities on the eastern seaboard, the girls took a leisurely trip, hitting points of interest along the way. Averaging 2-3 hours of drive time per day, and never driving more than 5 hours on any given day, their journey took them eight days to complete.

Here’s a chronicle of their journey:

Day 1 – took photos in Simsbury, CT, ate dinner in White Plains, NY with friends, slept in Philadelphia, PA.

Day 2 – Visited City Hall, Starbucks, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Reading Terminal Market (where they ate a Philly Cheese steak w/cheese whiz), then drove to Falls Church, VA, watched the Texas/Alabama championship football game and slept at the Smith B&B.

Day 3 – Woke up to 1” of snow, visited Mount Vernon to see where George Washington slept, drank hot chocolate in Alexandria to prevent hypothermia, played hard with new playmate Lily who’s a full time resident at the Smith B&B.

Day 4 – took the train into Washington, D.C., walked the National Mall in temperatures not hospitable to Ipanemans, took photos of the Washington Monument, World War II Monument and
Lincoln Memorial, took a ride with an angry, politically-opinionated cab driver from Jordan, ate lunch and visited the National Art Gallery with their wonderful hosts from the Smith B&B, saw the Declaration of Independence and Magna Carta, played hard with playmate Lily and spent another night at the Smith B&B.

Day 5 - said their goodbyes to their incredibly gracious hosts, drove into D.C., took pictures of the White House where one girl had a practical joke played on her by a White House security guard, ate lunch, spent the night in Fayetteville, NC.

Day 6 – drove most of the day, visited Pedro Land in South Carolina where one girl got severely freaked out and over stimulated by Pedro’s odd looking city (this is the same girl who got picked on by the security guard), ate dinner in Hilton Head, SC, went out for dessert and slept in Savannah, GA.

Day 7 – walked around, shopped, and took photos in historic Savannah, tried (not too hard) to spot Paula Deen, spent the night at the Disney World equivalent for golfers, on the outskirts of St. Augustine, FL.

Day 8 - walked around historic St. Augustine, got a car wash and drove to their final destination... JUPITER.