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Tuesday, October 06, 2015
  • Sunday, October 04, 2015 11:38 PM
    Here’s Part II of my favorite TV moments in 35 years. It seems like yesterday that I was standing in front of a camera with no clue where to look or what to say. Wait, that was yesterday.
  • Monday, September 21, 2015 12:22 AM
    October 1 will be my 35th year in television. Actually, I started on September 1, 1980. During my first four weeks in Columbus, Ohio, most people were saying, “I don’t believe they put that guy on TV,” so I’m not counting that month.

  • Sunday, September 13, 2015 9:31 PM

    Next week I head to New Rochelle, New York, for my 50th high school reunion. My reunion is not just with old classmates, but also with my hometown, a mid-size suburban city just north of Manhattan—and the setting for the residence of Rob and Laura Petrie of the Dick Van Dyke Show.

    I have been back to New Rochelle countless times, but primarily to see family. This time, I hope to:

    . . . see my first New York baseball game in, yes, 50 years. In June of 1965, despite losing 70 games already that season, the Miracle Mets were only four years away from winning the World Series. The Mets’ home, Shea Stadium, was torn down in 2008 and replaced by Citi Field. Entering a major league park for the first time is always a thrill—just like the 100th time.

  • Tuesday, September 08, 2015 7:15 PM

    An advertisement in a recent “Prevention” magazine was a bit confusing: THE SNORING SOLUTION THAT’S BETTER THAN THAT ELBOW

    That didn’t make sense to me. It was as odd as asking “is it hotter in the summer or in the subway?” But I read on, hoping for some explanation. The information came from a national magazine called “CHEST,” which is either the journal for the American Pulmonary Association or a training manual for the new hires at Hooters.

    This medical study claims that by exercising certain muscles in your tongue, you can reduce snoring and prevent your spouse from elbowing you at night. Most caring spouses would not do such a thing, and anyway, I don’t think Mary Ellen’s elbow can reach from her side of a king-size bed all the way to the living room couch.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015 8:01 PM

    "There's someone at the door,” said my wife, which is never a statement of fact, but rather a request for me to go see who it is. Generally, I’d prefer that Mary Ellen not answer the door. She’s a softy and can’t say “no” to solicitors, which is why we have 20 years’ worth of garbage bags in the garage and every spring we donate 50 boxes of Thin Mint cookies to the local food bank.

    The young man at the door was very polite and asked if we would consider changing our cable service. As a creature of habit, I am not inclined to change anything unless something much better comes along…and I say that proudly after 35 years of marriage. I was in a generous mood, so I invited the gentleman in the house and asked him to give me his 60-second sales pitch. “I’m a bit nervous,” he said.

  • Sunday, August 23, 2015 11:30 PM

    “I watch your stick on TV,” a woman said to me as I exited the supermarket. I’m pretty sure she meant shtick, a Yiddish word that in English means . . . well it’s a way of saying . . . hmmm. Yiddish words can’t be translated easily. As a kid I was always dropping things. My mother called me a klutz. That’s not the same as a clumsy person. Big difference.

    Leo Rosten, author of the Joys of Yiddish, defines shtick this way: “ . . . a contrived piece of ‘business’ by an actor or actress . . . to steal attention and establish a guise.”

  • Sunday, August 16, 2015 9:55 PM

    There are yellow sticky notes all over my office, reminding me of quirky and bizarre things I have read in the newspaper or online, as well as personal experiences that deserve at least a brief mention in my upcoming columns.

    The first note I re-read this week was a reminder about an Asian manufacturer who is marketing a $5,000 toilet. The product uses a remote control that will “raise and lower your seat, emit a deodorizer, and massage your butt while you are sitting.” I’m not sure just what that new Supreme Court decision actually allows, but I’m thinking this is one half of a perfect marriage. 

  • Sunday, August 09, 2015 10:25 PM

    “Mary Ellen, where do we keep the soup spoons? Did you move the instant coffee? Where are the salad bowls?”

    This is the kind of stuff I have been asking my wife for 25 years. We had the kitchen renovated this past month, so now I have additional questions, like:

    “What’s a convection oven?”

    “Where did they hide the dishwasher?”

    “Am I allowed to put New Yorker cartoons on the new fridge?”

    Speaking of that fridge, Mary Ellen has taken great pains to ensure that our new stainless steel beauty retains its charm, so she began by explaining to me that there are only three food groups. 

  • Sunday, August 02, 2015 11:48 PM

    Our friends Len and Helen invited us to their house to play Bocce with some other folks from church. Len thought he read somewhere that this was a great sport for Unitarians. But it might have said septuagenarians – he wasn’t sure. The game is kind of like croquet, lawn bowling and shuffleboard all rolled into one. You begin by tossing an initial sphere, called a pallino, down the court (or just down your lawn) and then teams compete to see who can throw additional balls, which are a bit larger, closest to the target ball.

    Seems simple enough, but within a few minutes a dispute arose when Myrna heaved the pallino over onto the neighbor’s lawn and we didn’t know whose turn was next or how many points her team lost, and Martin wanted to know if we all stunk so much it was time to find another church activity.

  • Sunday, July 26, 2015 6:55 PM

    Our kitchen renovation continues. Stuff from the fridge and pantry had to be moved to the garage and in the process we cleaned out several drawers filled with exotic spices. Most of the spices I have never heard of: anardana, advieh, amchoor powder and ajwain, to name a few. (Yes, Mary Ellen had them in alphabetical order.) She bought these when she went through her, “I am going to learn to be a gourmet cook” stage the week after we got married. The stage left the following Monday.


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