Monday, February 25, 2008


On Good Friday of 1974, a string of tornados swept through the Midwest causing millions of dollars in property damage and taking several lives. I was living in Louisville KY at the time and, ironically enough, was in the mobile home financing business.

There may be some things more susceptible to wind damage than mobile homes but I’d be hard pressed to think of what they might be.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


One of the nicest things about having a blog is the ability to run off at the mouth about anything that pops into my head. Today, it is atrial fibrilation.

Several years ago, I had a bout of this and was hopitalized for a week. It was shortly after my diagnosis of MS and they were taking no chances. I was stabilized and released.

It is back.

Due to my stress level, I was put on Coumidin and am having blood work done every week. My financial position precludes them from hospitalizing me again.

More about my stress level and financial situation later.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I am not a fan of Dress Bets. You know, those sports bets you make that, when you lose, you have to wear a dress or something equally ridiculous. I never understood the need to belittle another person for sport.

And yet, this sort of thing abounds on Television today and has always been a part of Our Nation's viewing pleasure. Alan Burke, Joe Pyne, The Gong Show, American Idol - all a part of our shared experience. To write this off as "morbid curiosity" misses the point. I think something deeper is at work here but , for the life of me, I don't know what it is. Right-wing talk radio is part of this phenomenon.


On Sunday, September 9, 2001, I was doing the NYT crossword puzzle while my family was at breakfast. I solved it in 41 minutes, a record time for me on a Sunday puzzle. I couldn't wait for my family to get home so I could tell someone.

When they finally got home, I discovered I was unable to speak clearly enough to make myself understood. When I tried to stand up, my right foot flopped around. (I later learned this condition is called drop foot). I didn't know what was happening but I chalked the whole thing up to fatigue as I wasn't working at the time and was having trouble sleeping.

On Monday, September 10, my right leg was no longer under my control and I had to make my way from the bedroom to the living room by holding on to the furniture. I called my doctor's office and was unable to communicate well enough to make myself understood. I handed my wife the phone and she told the nurse what had been happening and, all at once, one word came to my mind - STROKE!

The doctor's office told my wife to get me to the hospital immediately which she did. By this time, my condition was worsening. I was unable to get out of the car and had lost the ability to talk .

The rest of the day was spent in an almost endless series of tests. One of the first of them eliminated the possibility of a stroke which seemed like good news at the time. Meanwhile, my mental confusion grew.

The next morning, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was taken to Radiology for more tests. By this time, I was not able to concentrate at all. I seemed to be in and out of active consciousness.

What I do remember was the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital on a Tuesday morning and, curiously, people talking about airplanes and the World Trade Center. I remember thinking about the plane that had crashed into the Empire State Building back in the 30s.

Then I became aware of silence. There didn't seem to be any people close at hand. I was hooked up to a machine and I could hear voices dimly buzzing at a distance. I learned later that all the staff went into the waiting room when the second plane hit. As I drifted in and out, I tried to make some sense out of what I was hearing, a jumble of dull urgency and some anger and a new thought entered my mind - terrorism.

I awoke and was back in my room.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I do not watch reality shows. In any form. I have never watched American Idol, Survivor or any of their clones.
I call programs of this sort Theater of Humiliation.

In the 50's there were shows like Queen for a Day and The Alan Pyne Show that my mother enjoyed watching. Queen for a Day was on at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and my mother insisted that I watch it with her. It was her favorite show and I HATED it

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I like to do crossword puzzles. No, I LOVE to do crossword puzzles. I started doing the daily puzzle in the Washington Post when I was about 10 years old and was absolutely thrilled when I first finished one. I graduated to the New York Times Sunday puzzle about 10 years later.

Crosswords are the most idiosyncratic of pursuits because of their solitary nature. Over the years I have developed "rules" for solving: I do them in pen, my trusty gold Cross pen my father gave me for my high school graduation. I must start at the very top or I don't start at all. I do not go below the lowest point I have reached in the puzzle. I do not look up answers.
In the last 15 years I have totally completed the NYT Sunday puzzle all but a handful of times.

My personal best time is 41 minutes for the Sunday puzzle and 3:45 for a daily one.

More about Puzzles at another time.


Frankly I think I watch TV way too much. I AM disabled so I can excuse it to myself but, if the TV is off, it seems to be staring at me.

I watch as many LAW & ORDER's as I can but only the Original not CI or SVU. In a curious way, the characters seem to be family and I enjoy them.

Now that I think of it, I really do watch too much television


I think I am just talking to myself here.

I would like to add this tidbit. In my former life as an accountant I was convicted of embezzling $35,000 and sent to Delaware State Prison. I was sentenced to 7 years but only served 4 months and was released on parole as they had no room for me at the jail.

All this happened more than 20 years ago

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This is my first post.

The only reason I started this blog was to be able to get my picture to display on Rex Parker's blog on crossword puzzles. I am a former bill collector, accountant, sheet metal foreman and am now disabled with Multiple Sclerosis.

More about this later