Monday, July 14, 2008

Darth Vader Must Eat

People in Star Wars never eat. But they must have, right? There must have been a canteen on the Death Star.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

When Dads Were Models for All of Us

This article hit home for me. Taken from the NY Times....

When Dads Were Models for All of Us

Long ago, I grew up with three dads: my own and two neighbors who had enough left over after dealing with their own kids to feel like dads to us as well. They lived in split-level houses next to one another that they bought around 1953 for about $30,000 at 39, 35 and 31 Tanners Road in Great Neck. Back then, they were too busy with the grand and quotidian duties of fatherhood to meditate too much about it. So, on Father’s Day 2008, a respectful salute to fatherhood before play dates, before anything 24/7, or 2.0.

Gilbert Isaacs, next door to us, never went to college, but he was the smartest man we knew — exotic and mysterious in his brazen detachment from Little League, pro sports and the other defining elements of suburban life. Instead of a lawn in the backyard there was the Japanese pebble garden he had designed and the 10-foot-tall copy of a famous Isamu Noguchi sculpture he had fabricated in his basement.

He knew about everything — orchids, the paintings of Emil Nolde, medicine and astronomy — not in the showy, keeping-score, intellectual résumé-building of today, but just because he wanted to know.

Once, he diagnosed his barber’s eye ailment, and was always greeted from then on with a respectful, “Good afternoon, Doc,” under the assumption that he was a physician, not someone who owned two jewelry stores in Queens with his brother.

Jesse Biblowitz could have been his opposite, someone so comfortable with the rhythms of our little cul-de-sac, it was hard to imagine him anywhere else. Where Gilbert’s eye was sardonic and clinical, Jesse had an unerring ability to see the best in everyone and radiated a sweetness hard to square with his big, stooped frame.

My brother called him the Golden Jesse, which didn’t really mean anything, but seemed just right. Going to play tennis with Jesse and assorted kids, relatives and visiting dignitaries every Sunday was about sports but mostly about life. You called every ball near the line in. You were awarded a second serve for any possible distraction. If Uncle Si didn’t want to move, you hit the ball close enough so he could remain stationary. Before the Jordan Rules, they were the Jesse Rules.

And my father, Jerome Applebome, who we never forgot was Dad-in-Chief, never strayed far from active-duty mode, invariably asking who wanted a nice peach, seemingly always around whether he was or wasn’t. He radiated a kind of Thurberesque suburban mensch-hood, fighting a losing battle with wily raccoons, implacable crab grass, balky commodes and the cruel vagaries of sports wagers, done in by every miracle play and impossible field goal. But without preaching, he was a master of teaching us how to do the right thing, how to be a father and a friend and an honorable person. He was a blend of Gilbert and Jesse, intent on litigating any political or intellectual point, every bit as goodhearted as Jesse without Jesse’s air of effortless suburban Zen.

We were lucky. Maybe some kids today grow up with the same air of total familiarity with their neighbors. But just as almost no kids seem to just go out and play ball in the street without an adult telling them what to do, it doesn’t seem today’s style.

But the dads were lucky, too. Gilbert and Jerome wouldn’t have made a glamorous buddy movie, but what great friends they were. Each trip to what was then called the appetizing store on Sunday became a gala excursion. Every visit by Gilbert later in the afternoon, when he’d torment my father by intentionally showing up at the most crucial moment of the game on TV to subtly shift the betting karma in the wrong direction, became a form of friendly suburban kabuki.

All three remained friends, almost brothers, for their whole lives, taking trips and spending holidays together, even if the Gilbert-Jerome bond was stronger than the Gilbert-Jesse one. Gilbert died in 1999 at the age of 82 and there was an appropriately sedate memorial a year later.

Jesse died in January at the age of 87 and there was an appropriately demonstrative funeral in which perhaps a dozen speakers found remarkably personal ways to paint the same picture in different brush strokes. My father’s 90 and still on duty.

There were, then as now, endless varieties of fatherhood, and it’s not as if they were all saints then and we’re all distant Hummer-driving power dads now. But on Tanners Road, there did seem to be more time, more grace, more of a center, more very visible models of the way to do it right than most kids, urban or suburban, grow up with today. People moved less often, they didn’t have P.D.A.’s to check on weekends, they had less fancy jobs but perhaps richer lives. You can postulate reasons, but Google can’t tell you exactly why.

Then or now, the one thing that doesn’t change is that it doesn’t last long. There we were in Jesse’s car, looking through Gilbert’s telescope or playing catch with my father, and poof, then we weren’t.

Chances are whoever counts as dad in your household is a bit bruised this Father’s Day. His stocks, if he has any, are down, his blood pressure’s up. While I was doing mall duty with my daughter last week, a salesman regaled me with tales of a pen that cost more than all three houses on Tanners Road combined.

Maybe if you’ve got one of those hedge-fund über-dads, he’ll appreciate that sort of thing. If not, buy yours a full tank of $4.50 gas, tell him how much you love and appreciate him, and hope he’s as lucky as Gilbert, Jesse and Jerome and those in their orbit were.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Courage is the answer

People are always asking me how is it that firefighters run into a burning building when everyone else is running out. Courage is the answer. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

deep cuts

"When we were young, and truth was paramount, we were older then. And we lived life without any doubt. Those memories...they seem so long ago. 

Deep lyrics. Name that tune. And don't google it.  

Friday, June 13, 2008

In Heat

There was a horrible fire yesterday in Jericho. Nine fire departments from around the county responded. Jericho was the first. Engine 945 from Company 3 had the first due line into one of the condo units (4 were involved). I was on that hose line.  It was surreal- utterly surreal. Flames everywhere. The real deal for sure. I walked out of there, and was never more sure in my entire life that the other firefighter brothers of mine on the hose would never fail me if i asked them for something truly important. I hope I have earned that same sentiment from them. And I hope if I did any good fighting that fire, it comes back to my kids somehow, someday. Godspeed, Brandon and Skylar. Daddy loves you. 

here are my terms

rachmunis: a term often used by jews. a value i try to uphold. and a character and principle i hope to instill within my children. and why a certain someone is still working in my office.

nachas: real life mastercard commercials ("priceless") only a bazillion times more intense and enjoyable- like my son graduating from pre-k, and watching my daughter in her "moving up" ceremony.

oy gavult.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

closer to the heart.

.... And the men who hold high places, must be the ones to start- to mould a new reality closer to the heart.....

I just found out how to keep my blog private from whoever that sicko was. I hope to find the time to get back to blogging.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I have seen Along Came Polly a thousand and one times, and I still think it has some of the funniest scenes ever. How prolific and diverse is Phillip Seymour Hoffman? "RAINDROPS!!" "OLD SCHOOL!!!"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wiggle Room

I grew up in the days of the 'Son of Sam' murders.  And the whole Joel Rifkin thing was scary indeed (the Jerry Seinfeld episode referencing Rifkin was hilarious though!).  Billy Joel tells us that 'We Didn't Start The Fire', but, here is reason to be afraid- be very afraid. They call themselves Wiggleheads.  And especially if you have kids, you will understand.... these guys are FREAKS! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Truth Be Old.

The institute of Medicine's report on EMS sorted a recent year's data for ambulance transports to emergency departments by patient age:

Ages 65 to 74 accounted for 27.5 percent of transports;
Ages 75 and older took an additional 40%.  


Many older Americans are working longer, and I expect boomers are only going to increase that trend.  Seniors are healthier than in previous decades, even in spite of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and substance abuse.  Our journey into old age will play out rather predictably.  Early on, healthcare will focus on maintaining good health to enable work productivity and leisure enjoyment.  Inevitably, though, we will run out of time.  For those of us fortunate to reach old age, the months/years immediately preceding our elderly death is when many of us will spend an increasing amount of time and money on healthcare.  

Here are some more elder facts: 

In 2011, most baby boomers will begin to turn 65.

By 2026, the population of Americans ages 65 and older will double to 71.5 million.

Between 2007 and 2015, the number of Americans ages 85 and older is expected to increase by 40%.

The fastest growing segment of the population is individuals over age 80.

If you make it to age 65, the average life expectancy is an additional 18 years (i.e., 83).  

The question thus becomes more prevalent:  at what point does the desire for life quality outweigh the desire for life quantity? Think about what makes life worth living for yourself. Whatever is on your agenda, the older you get, the more likely you will suffer the loss of those quality indicators.
  You should understand that there are those who have reached the reality of this point.  
It can't be an easy reality with which to deal.  So do your part when dealing with the elderly, especially if they are your EMS patient.  Respect the patient's independence (or what might be left of it). And, don't assume the patient's complaint is always due to old age. 

Now take Robert Small.  He's a guy who understands that you're never too old to help others.  At age 60, he began a new career as a New York City EMT.  Rock on, brother.  


Curing the common cold 1 Million at a time

Surprise! Yet another drug product that doesn't do what it is advertised to do.  Last week, the makers of Airborne settled a false advertising lawsuit for $23.3 million.  Before you blame the lawyers and start adding this to your stories in the now infamous McDonald's burn case category, you should know that the Airborne company had projected sales of $300 million for its most recently concluded fiscal year.  

Think about that for a minute... $300 MILLION dollars of sales.  That's a lot of people buying this stuff.  Personally, I find it all fascinating:  the same forces that cured polio and made progress staving off full-blown AIDS have yet to figure out a way to combat the common cold, but wait...  It's a TEACHER who suddenly cracked the code with a mix of vitamin C and zinc.  Lovely. 

Not as brilliant, however, as the marketing plan behind this genius product. Airborne even made "Oprah" and "Live With Regis and Kelly."  Airborne then changed its advertising campaign when a plaintiff filed suit against the company in March, 2006.  ABC news then disclosed a report that the company's clinical trials were not conducted by doctors or scientists, but rather they were carried out by two laypeople. Ya can't make this stuff up.  

But because Airborne is classified as a "supplement" rather than a "drug", it can be sold without first being proven effective.  Have fun shopping at GNC everyone. Let me know how that works out for ya. 

Post Script:  Tamiflu- a Roche prescription drug that has been proven effective at treating the flu, will carry a new warning.  The new warning notes that there have been problems related to this drug that have proven FATAL.  

Here's my advice:   don't get sick. 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Does EMS Need To Call 911?

Men's health had this article published recently. The comments to the article that I have read so far are dead on.   Click the link and take a gander. 

CC Rider

I just finished a three-night ACLS course given through Nassau County VEEB, and I loved every minute of it. I have been to many classes, given by many different instructors.  Truly, this was one of the best instructed courses I have ever attended.  The student/teacher ratio was about 4 to 1 at all times except during lecture and movie presentation.  The instructors were very knowledgeable; and made themselves available both before and after class to answer any questions.  Equally impressive to me was the fact that the instructors somehow created a chemistry in the class wherein every student helped one another. Notwithstanding, the students were all EMT-CC or higher, except for me and one other very nice girl.  What an amazingly refreshing experience all around.  I passed my practicals and writtens first time around too.  Go me. In any event, its a good feeling to be part of a group so committed to what they do on so many different levels. Just like most attorneys (YEAH RIGHT!).  Can't wait to start my EMT-CC course in september. T minus 5 months or so. Get your bodies ready everyone. 

Friday, March 7, 2008

No Guts, No Glory

The norovirus and I know each other very well now, since it introduced itself to me last Sunday.  There I was- writhing in pain on my own bedroom floor from the stomach cramps. No, wait... I was sitting with my face buried in the trash can.... no wait... the sink... no wait.... the bath tub... no wait... the garbage wait... just vomiting everywhere, and in a 25 foot radius, like a rotating, vomiting sprinkler head. 

 I couldn't speak.  I couldn't control my bodily functions. My princess cried, while my power ranger tried to calm her.  Told my wife to call my brother and sister EMTs to take me to the hospital. Quick response. Had every EMT from my department, and about 20 firefighters in my house.  My kids watched.  My wife told everyone I was exaggerating.  And the norovirus and I snuggled together in the gurney.  How embarrassing. How humiliating. I was able to mutter that I wanted my own company within the department to transport. Caught hell for that the next day. Apparently, that request insulted everyone who wasn't in my company.... gimme a break and HTFU!!!  There wasn't much left inside of me. I was spilling my guts out, but I'm not talking about the obvious.  I'm talking about my dignity. I had nothing left of me by the time I reached the hospital.  

I didn't much like being on the bus looking up at my company's EMTs.  I much more prefer being an EMT looking down at my patient.  

My princess and my power ranger, well, they love coming to my 'house', running around the apparatus floor wearing one of my tar-ridden fireproof turnout gear gloves, shining my flashlight, and even sleigh riding in my helmet when it snows enough.  They love taking out a steth and listening to me whisper sweet nothings, and wrapping the BP cuff around each other's heads.  But lately, they don't like firefighters and medics.  They pan their faces when my pager goes off now, for they know there is someone calling for me and the other EMTs- someone with no guts- or worse, someone with a princess or power ranger of their own, watching it all, helplessly, and now memory-scarred.  

My power ranger still says he wants to be a firefighter.  My little girl still wants to be a 'princess doctor'.  They both know now that walking each of those paths requires more than just fighting fires, or treating sick princesses.  This all taught to them by my friend the norovirus.  With friends like that, who needs enemies.  It's all chillingly ironic. 

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hey, All You Starbucks Freaks... HTFU!

This video is dedicated to all the wonderful employees of my law office, and those at the courthouse who had to stay home because they were 'buried' under the one inch coating of snow we got the other day, or they 'had' to leave early due to the 'severe' weather conditions. HTFU!!! Major props to MDOD for the find....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Moving Ahead

 Advanced spiritual people such as Buddha, Christ and their immediate students seem to be always painted with golden haloes around their heads.  I don't know if it's because some artists can actually see Auras, or whether they want others to think they do. But it appears as far back as time itself.  In Australia's remote West Kimberleys you can even find prehistoric cave paintings, many thousands of years old, depicting people with golden haloes.  (By the way, I did spend last weekend visiting museums in New York City with my family and some friends- just in case you're wondering what the genesis of that factoid is.)

As most of you know, there isn't a night that goes by that I don't tuck my kids into bed and put them to sleep.  My princess is 3, and my power ranger is 4.   It's somewhat of a challenge every night when I lay in my son's bed with the lights out.  He usually asks me to tell him a bedtime story, and I always start it off with "Once upon a time, far, far away..."  But tonight, I decided to tell him about his own past.  I told him how 'when he was a baby', I lulled him at night to my best rendition of Harry Chapin's "Cats In The Cradle".  He and I used to call it the "Bum Bum" song- much easier for him to have pronounced.  "Can you sing it to me tonight daddy?"  And as I did, and his eyelids slowly shut, I could swear I saw cartoon-like figurines coming out of his 
precious little sleepy head- giraffes, fluffy rabbits, puppy dogs, baby elephants, ponies and lollipops.  

Harry Chapin died in a freak car accident right here in Jericho, New York on the Long Island Expressway in 1981.  Frank B., an old timer firefighter in my department told me that he was one of many who responded to the accident back then.  "I picked up his head from the backseat," he said very matter of factly, looking hard into my eyes with a straight face.  I wonder what Harry's aura was like. All Frank B. said he saw was "a lot of blood". 
Gotta go and find a mirror now.  See if I have one of these aura things around my head.   I think it has something to do with my hair loss. There's gotta be someone I can sue. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Blue Light Special

A firefighter, responding in his personal vehicle, is seriously injured when he swerves to avoid a truck at an intersection and skids into a city bus...

A volunteer EMS responder is killed in a car crash on his way to the Fire Station for a cardiac call...

Perhaps you've read about such accidents in an emergency services publication. On the other hand, maybe one of them hit closer to home, and the story made your local newspaper. Either way, the news isn't good. According to the NFPA, fire department emergency vehicles were involved in an estimated 14,900 collisions in 2001 while responding to, or returning from, incidents. Firefighters' personal vehicles were involved in 1,325 collisions. Together, they resulted in 1,100 firefighter injuries.

24 firefighters - 17 of whom died in crashes - were killed in 2001 while responding to or returning from alarms: the second most common activity resulting in firefighter fatalities.According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, nearly 20–25% of accidental deaths in the fire service are related to vehicles, and many, if not most, of these accidents involve intersections. A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine (December 2002), “Occupational Fatalities in Emergency Medical Services: A Hidden Crisis,” states the leading cause of occupational fatalities for EMS personnel during the study period (1992–1997) was transportation incidents (86/114 fatalities).

Section 375, subsection 41, sub-subsection 4 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law reads as such:

4. Blue light. a. One blue light may be affixed to any motor vehicle
owned by a volunteer member of a fire department or on a motor vehicle
owned by a member of such person's family residing in the same household
or by a business enterprise in which such person has a proprietary
interest or by which he or she is employed....

That's right.  The good people in Albany, New York say that ONE blue light is allowed.  Not two, not blue and white, just ONE, BLUE light.  The law hasn't changed in more than 20 years.  Makes me feel like a kid again:

"Oh, please Mr. Lawmaker, gimme just one more light? Pretty please?!"

Well.... I hope you all join me in thanking our thoughtful lawmakers in Albany, and others like them for looking out for guys and gals like me, who may not make it to the next call because of the one light limitation.  Thanks for caring. Really. My wife and kids thank you too.  

And as for my brothers and sisters, lets be careful out there. I, for one, care about you. 

OK. Gotta go put my kids to sleep now. It's light's out time. Night night. 

Friday, February 22, 2008


When I was a young lad, I used to think Sharon Stone was hot. I'm all grown up now. She's not hot anymore. She's ugly with a capital F. And she should learn to keep her mouth shut if she has things to say like her most recent defamation of my country. 

This is my brain on drugs

Props and credit goes to Emergency Emily for this one.... It's what's inside that counts, right?

It's been like spinning plates for me this week.

This pretty much captures what my life has been like this week.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Trust Me"

A client came into my law firm yesterday. He was scared. Genuinely scared. And he was a firefighter/EMT. He sat in the chair across from me in my office, and the first thing he said to me was, "I'm here because I trust you." He suspected he was going to be sued for discrimination. Even if he prevailed on such a case, he still would be scarred and marked for life. Think "The Rocket" Roger Clemens walking around with a halligan and a trauma bag. As I listened to his story, I felt it was more important to look into his eyes as he spoke rather than taking notes as I usually do. "I don't know what to do, Rich. Is this the end for me and my family?". I told him in no uncertain terms that there was no danger and that he did nothing wrong. He was thankful- both to God and to me. "I know I can believe you, Rich. Thanks." We finished up, and he gave me a Svengali-like bear hug. Royce Gracie, eat your heart out. He left my office a new man, ready to fight fires and rescue the injured.

I responded to a car accident that night. Three cars, and a lot of damage. A young girl, who was anunrestrained backseat passenger was walking around at the scene. No outside signs of DCAP-BTLS, but my suspicions ran high for internal bleeding. She must have called her parents before my bus arrived on scene, becase they came to the accident site. "Why aren't you taking her to the same hospital as the others? It's closer." Not much time to sit with them in consultation to explain the difference between a trauma center and the other hospital. I told them that I have two children of my own, and I would do the same thing for my kids as I would their daughter. "OK. We trust you are doing the right thing."

My kids are both sick today. They sound like seals when they cough, and elephants when they blow their noses. My house is, literally, a zoo. They take the medicine I give them so readily. I tell them that they will be better soon. "When, daddy?" "very very soon." They smile at me, and then they go downstairs to play.

I went to the gas station to fill my tank up before I hit up Dunkin' Donuts for some coffee and a bagel. I had to pay the attendant before he would turn the pump on. Guess he didn't trust me.

Face Mold

Ok.... someone just found my blog site using the search term "lady face mold". Houston, we have a problem.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bourne Mexican

Wonder if the character would work with other nationalities too.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Breath Sounds

It gets all too overwhelming for me sometimes. Rarely, but sometimes. And that's too often. One thought turns into two, then five, then five million. When it snowballs like that, I can't catch my breath. So usually I take a long drag from a Marlboro Light. Go figure.

It was noisier at first in the Trial Assignment Part courtroom today. An annoying cacophony. Kinda like a bunch of lawyers all saying the words "peas and squash, peas and squash" to one another, really not talking about anything at all. Then Judge Sweeney took the bench, the bailiff called for order, and it got real quiet, real fast. I swear, someone farted. It was gross. No one flinched. No one moved. No one made a face. All for fear of being removed from the courtroom and missing the calendar call. All anyone could do was breathe in the stale, thick air. Amidst the quiet, the EMT in me couldn't help but take such opportunity to fine tune my caregiver skills, so I listened to the bodies around me for crackles, rales, and I think i even detected a heart murmur, all without a stethoscope, without getting out of my chair, and without flinching from the old smelly lawyer man ass gas. Did I mention my ear is bionic? Lindsay Wagner, eat your heart out.

I got home relatively early. I promptly changed my clothes. That's when the pager went off. Signal 9. Female with chest pains over at the cablevision offices. I started to breathe heavier. I always do that though when I get a Signal 9 across the pager. It's exciting. A good exciting. So, no Marlboro Light. Go figure. We found the lady just hanging out in her boss' office. She's had this pain since the morning, or so she says. She was fine really. No shortness of breath.  But we packed her up in the bus and took her to the hospital. There were two other EMTs riding with me. One started to give the lady some aspirin. He was relatively new, so, we had this 5 second debate as to whether our protocol allowed us to administer the aspirin without asking Med Comm. I backed down, and listened to the lady's breath sounds instead. Her lungs sounded just like the breath sounds of the smelly lawyer man from this morning. So I put some blankets over her in case she farted.

My wife and daughter were home when I got back from the call. We started watching Americas Funniest Videos in bed. My wife took a phone call and went downstairs. I shut the lights off, and cooed my little princess to sleep. She rested her beautiful head on my chest. I think she was listening to my lungs.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wall Street

Wall Street is one of my favorite movies of all time.  The sequel is due out soon.  I'm pumped for it. 

Here is a great clip, introducing Gordon Gekko to the world. If you listen carefully, you will hear Gekko's receptionist tell him his wife is on the phone. He doesn't flinch!!

 Here are some memorable quotes from the original:

"The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it. "

"The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don't want to do."

Gordon Gekko: [at the Teldar Paper stockholder's meeting] Well, I appreciate the opportunity you're giving me Mr. Cromwell as the single largest shareholder in Teldar Paper, to speak. Well, 
ladies and gentlemen we're not here to indulge in fantasy but in political and economic reality. America, America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at 
nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market when our country was a top industrial po
wer, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company! All together, these men sitting up here own less than three percent of the company. And where does Mr. Cromwell put his million-dollar salary? Not in Teldar stock; he owns less than one percent. You own the company. That's right, you, the stockholder. And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their luncheons, their hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets and golden parachutes.
Cromwell: This is an outrage! You're out of line Gekko!
Gordon Gekko: Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I've been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

I don't go to bed with no whore, and I don't wake up with no whore. That's how I live with myself. I don't know how you do it.

Blue Horse Shoe Loves Anacot Steel.

You stop sending me information, and you start getting me some.

Carl Fox: He's using you, kid. He's got your prick in his back pocket, but you're too blind to see it.
Bud Fox: No. What I see is a jealous old machinist who can't stand the fact that his son has become more successful than he has!
Carl Fox: What you see is a guy who never measured a man's success by the size of his WALLET!
Bud Fox: That's because you never had the GUTS to go out into the world and stake your own claim!
[Long Pause]Carl Fox: Boy, if that's the way you feel, I must have done a really lousy job as a father.

Carl Fox: "I came into Egypt a Pharoah who did not know."
Gordon Gekko: I beg your pardon, is that a proverb.
Carl Fox: No, a prophecy. The rich been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time. The only difference between the Pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn't allow unions. I know what this guy is all about, greed. He don't give a damn about Bluestar or the unions. He's in and out for the buck and he don't take prisoners.

"It's yourself you have to be proud of, Huckleberry".

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Remember When.....

Here's an excerpt from one of my wife's recent phone conversations....

Wife's friend:  "Remember when you were a kid and you had lice?"
Wife:  "Um, no. I never had lice when I was a kid."

Having a hard time figuring out what you are looking for when you think your kids have lice? This picture of the 3 stages of the head lice life cycle can help:

m'K.  I'm getting itchy.  And im officially skeeved out. I think I'll stop now.   

DIY Shrunken Head - Great For Valentine's Day!

So Valentines Day is just a few days from now and you're thinking: "I want to make my lady something special that she'll remember. Something romantic and sweet... I know! I'll make her a shrunken head!"

Ah, you slick fox. You're one smooth man, you know that you can get any lady you want. And this is your lucky day, I have just the instructable for your next catch or your current jog. Here's an easy cost effective way to woo this special lady of yours. Follow me and I'll teach you how to create a shrunken head without having to visit your local morgue, prison, city hall, or anywhere else heads may be rolling.

First, find a willing partner; if you want to give her your head on a plate (think surrounded by red rose petals) you'll need your partner to do some very uncomfortable things to you, so get ready to get close to your friends.

My willing partner was mike, you'll see him below, we helped each other make the other persons face.

Step 1: Get Materials. Get Secluded. Make Mold.

You'll pretty much need to be left alone for the next few hours because any interruptions are going to disrupt the process and create for a jibbley mold. Also, you'll look like some kind of freak with a gobliny white face

Materials Needed:
A pot
A spoon

All together this should set you back 13$

Now take your moulage and on a low heat setting on your oven heat it up till it liquefies.

Take it off the oven and let it cool down a bit. Only a bit.

Hand your partner a pen and a pencil and two straws. Take a spoon and dab a little bit on his face. If he looks like he's about to cry... put more. You want to put it on in thin layers, so cover the entire face with the first layer, all except the nostrils and ear holes of course.

Step 2: Strenghten The Mold

Here is where you strengthen the mold by adding many layers of moulage. Once the initial burn is over and his face is coated with a thin layer of the warm goop. Go over it again and again, it'll hurt less and will get thicker over time. Avoid the nostrils till you've accumulated a good thickness.

Once you've reached the nostrils, insert straws into your partner’s nose and goop a whole load onto the nose, this is a weak part of the mold because of the need to breathe out of it. So make sure to put enough.

Try to find straws that fit the nose fully, so get McDonalds straws(I don't eat there, but they like you to guzzle your food and have wide straws), Wendy's straws are a bit thinner.

When you have about 1/2" of moulage layers on your partners face, let him wait and feel the stuff ooze into his ears. This is when the pencil and paper come in handy so your partner can let you know if he's suffocating or what.

Step 3: Toughen Up, Foo!

If you have any left over moulage, just goop the rest onto the layers you made. This will just create a thick layer that will strengthen the mold.

Another way to strengthen the mold is to use wire mesh, something like from a screen window will do well.

Step 4: Remove, Distort, Cast, Distort

Now that you've waited for the moulage to cool, and your partner is freaking out deaf dumb blind for a few minuets you should carefully peel the moulage mask off your partners face and set it on something face shaped, like a hat.

Now that you have your face mold, you can cast it with plaster of paris. But you want a shrunken head, so cast a few, and let the moulage dry out a bit, crunch it, twist it and let it dry, and then cast it. Basically it's like silly putty and you can control the way it drys so you can get all sorts of deathly faces.

Step 5: Show Your Affections

You may now embellish the castings you've made in anyway you wish. You can paint them, cut them with sanders, shatter them and glue them together, coat them with egg white varnish, or take a high- speed film of you playing baseball with your head.

Now that you've gone through all that pain, you can understand true love. Share your deepest affections to your lover with any presentation of your visage. Let them know how much you care.

-I hope all lovers this season have happy shrunken head filled Valentines Day gifts. -Rich

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Little things mean a lot

My dad was on a business trip in Boston. My mom was working late. I was 10 years old, and I had just moved to Pleasantville, New York the month prior. There were no cell phones back then, so, I watched TV along side my dog, Ralph, until my mom got home. The digital clock read 900PM. I was turning away from the TV show quite frequently to look at it. And then the doorbell rang. There was a man who I had never met before standing in the doorway with Craig Bilotti, a kid from my 5th grade class. The man was from the Pleasantville Volunteer Ambulance Corps. It was his job to explain to me that my mom had been in a horrible car accident, and she wasnt expected to live through the night. Pain. Severe pain. The kind that doesn't go away. The type that is incomparable to what my mom went through, and the likes of which I don't talk about, for fear of doing just that- comparing it to, and thereby belittling, my mother's pain- her physical pain that is. But that man... he made a difference. He was an EMT. But I am SURE that no EMS instructor taught him about how well he handled himself, and me, that night.

As soon as things settled down, my dad joined the Pleasantville Ambulance Corps and became an EMT himself. I'm not sure exactly why he did. Certainly, though, he did it either to pay back a debt, or to help others, or to incorporate within himself the values of the man in my doorway that night, or perhaps all of these reasons. I dont' really think it's important to know which anyway. It's also not the crux of this blog entry to know whether my mom survived, which she did. I have always maintained, nonetheless, that my parents, neither of whom graduated college, are the two of the most intelligent people who walk the earth.

I think somehow they passed that quality on to my children. My son loves hockey, and we all went to a New York Islanders hockey game last night. Here is a dialogue excerpt from my son, 4 (my power ranger), and my daughter, 3 (my princess) as we left after the game:

Me to my son: So do you still want to be a hockey player when you grow up?
Son to me: Yeah. And a lawyer and a firefighter and a paramedic too.
My daughter to all: I wanna be a doctor for princesses and the princesses will save all the world.
Son to daughter: You can't save everyone in the world.
Daughter to Son: Yes you can.
Son: No you can't. Only daddy can. He's a paramedic and a firefighter. (ed.: funny how he left out lawyer!)
(shouting match ensues between them)
(then, finally.....)

Daughter to Me: Daddy, can you save everyone?
Me: No, sweetheart, I can't. But that doesn't stop me from trying. I just try it one person at a time.
Son: Yeah. I'm gonna do that too.
Daughter: Yeah. Me too.

And so, to those who are amongst us, coming to our aid ever so subtly, without flashing lights and sirens, without trauma bags and neck collars, I salute you.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tell Me Why Long Island

Here are some facts about Long Island, where I call home:

Long Island is 118 miles long and 18-20 miles wide at its widest point. 

Population (all four counties: Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Kings) 7,448,618.  Thats 5,470 people per square mile!!!

The population for just Nassau and Suffolk Counties (the two counties that are actually considered Long Island, because Kings a/k/a Brooklyn and Queens are actually part of New York City): 2.7 million.  

Long Island is more populated than 97 countries of the world!!

Long Island is the most populated island in any US state or territory.  It is also the 17th most populous island in the world, ahead of Ireland, Jamaica and the Japanese island of Hokkaido.  

Nassau County is ranked fifth highest in income per capita in the entire country.  

Nassau County, according to the 2000 Census, is the third richest county per capita in New York State, and the thirtieth richest in the nation.  If it were an independent nation, it would rank as the 96th most populated nation, falling between Switzerland and Israel.  

Median Long Island Home Price:  In Excess of $400,000

In 2001, the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute reported that Long Island had the highest cost of living/income index in the country.  

The average property tax bill for an average size home is between $8,000 and $16,000 a year... that's just the property tax, folks... no mortgage is included in those numbers.  In fact, Nassau County has the second highest property taxes in the United States.  

The average electric bill for a standard 4 bedroom, 2 bath home is over $300 per month, without air conditioning or holiday lights. 

If you combined all the fire and rescue vehicles, Long Island has more than New York City gand Los Angeles COMBINED!

According to Forbes Magazine, the most expensive home in North America is Three Ponds Estate in Bridgehampton, valued at $75 million.

The Nassau County jail has been probed by the Federal government for prisoner abuses, including death.  

So why am I staying?  Highest cost of living, second hightest property tax, and traffic... oh, did I forget to mention the traffic?  5,470 people per square mile all getting to and from work, I suppose, to pay for all of this.  

In September 1998, a small tornado hit Lynbrook, Long Island; in August 1999, an F-2 tornado hit Mattituck, Long Island; in August 2005, a tornado hit Glen Cove, Long Island; one year later in August, 2006, a tornado hit Massapequa in Nassau County; and on July 18, 2007, a tornado hit Islip Terrace.  

Long Island:  the only place you have to be rich to be poor.  

Sometimes, though, its easier to deal with the devil you know than the one you don't.  Oh, matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match! Find me a town, where i can be a paramedic, where i can give my children more opportunities in life than I ever had myself, where i can life in relative security, where medical care is top notch and cutting-edge.  Find me a place where I can discern the difference between what I am here to do and what I would like to do while I am here.  Can any of you tell me why I'm doing this all on Long Island?  Hope you can help me figure it out.  In the meantime, I will be trying to save some lives.  The more people are alive the more chance I have to come up with answers.  

Friday, January 25, 2008

language translator

I met all kinds of great people on my recent cruise with the family. There were some communication gaps though. I found the gap most prevalent when discussing computers, especially with those from the nether regions of this great country. I thought that I would put down on paper that which you, the future traveler, might need handy to properly talk about the subject:

Making a wood stove hot

Too much wood on fire
Keep'n an eye on the wood stove
Gitten the farwood off'n the truck

When yer not keerfull gitten the farwood

FLOPPY DISC:Whatcha git from tryin to tote too much farwood

RAM:That thar thang what splits the farwood

HARD DRIVE:Gitten home in the winter time

Whut to shut when its cold outside

Whut to shut when its black fly season

Whut dem dang flys do

Munchies fer the TV

Whut's in the bottom of the munchie bag

MODEM:Whatcha do to the hay fields

Ole Dan Matrix's wife

Whar the kitty sleeps

Whar you hang the dang truck keys

Dem dang plastic forks and knifes

What eats the grain in the barn

That's hippie talk fer where the mouse lives

Holds up the barn roof

Fancy flatlander wine

Notherner talk fer "C'Mon in y'all"

Whut you hear when you cock yer gun

When you cock the double barrel

Whut you have to do right before bedtime
when you have to go to the outhouse

There is this lady I know.  You probably know her too.  She is the kind of person you just want to smack the crap out of. She doesn't really work.  She just spends a lot of money all day, everyday, mostly on herself, and mostly on getting her nails done.  She doesn't really earn any money herself though.   In any given month, she spends more than her account is worth anyway, thanks to her hard working husband.  

As many of you know, I am fluent in Spanish.  This lady calls me quite often so that I can tell her hispanic nanny the things she wants done by the time she gets back from the spa.  And this spanish lesson is dedicated to her.  Hey, lady... your nails look great.  Really.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Finger Lickin' Good

This is an actual email that was sent to my entire staff by my calendar clerk this morning.  If any of you are considering munching out on cheddar cheese popcorn, be afraid. Be VERY afraid.  

"Whoever was at my desk last nite after I left, not quite sure why anyone would be at my desk when I am gone??? but next time if you are at my desk for any reason and decide to eat chedder cheese popcorn, you might want to clean up the mess you left on my floor and all over my files, its VERY RUDE and I really didnt appreciate the mess that I had to clean up when I got here this am--Dara"

Just Shoot totally

Here is an ad headline I just saw on Yahoo's front page...

"Why Online College is so Cool"

Exactly what is the target audience for the ad? What brilliant ad agency came up with that tag line? Classic example of irresponsibility.  "Hi. I'm an employer and I am looking for a COOL employee, and i want to pay them because they went to a COOL online college and i want to be COOL too."  

Where are the application papers for the colleges that are linked to that ad? Gimme those right away, baby.  Sign me up.  I wanna be cool.  Totally, completely, cooooolll.  yeeeaahh. 

I think these young ladies know what I'm talking about...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

You Don't Need Band Aids to Repair The World

I took my son to hockey practice the other day. Well, not really hockey practice. It's a class that teaches kids how to skate.  He switched recently from figure skates to hockey skates, so, he has to learn how to deal with the difference between the two.  I made my way up onto the bleachers along with the other parents all who were watching their kids on the ice.  Funny how we are so preoccupied with kids, yet we're never really accurate as to what makes them happy when we are buying toys for them.  Is it me, or does it seem to you too that the more expensive and elaborate the toy, the more adults think kids will like it, and the less kids actually like it. 

The little sister (not yet two years old)  of one of the kids on the ice was amongst us parents.  It was about 15 minutes into the skating lesson early in the morning, and already, as a group, we parents were running out of distractions for her- that is, until she became enthralled by a rather benign plastic band-aid dispenser that one of the moms found in a pocketbook scavenger hunt frenzy. There were no band-aids inside.  And it had the words in bold printed on it "REPAIR THE WORLD". 

I don't think the little girl's innocent, sweet baby blue eyes blinked for a good few 
minutes.  She stared at the contraption with this deep mantra printed upon it, certainly not able to read the words, but not for lack of trying.  She opened the container, then closed it. Then opened and closed it again.  First slowly, then fast, then slower again, all the time looking inside of it.   Those baby blues then looked right into mine as if to ask "How am I supposed to repair the world without any band-aids?" The baby girl spent the rest of the time just opening and closing the container over and over.  

 When the lesson was over, I helped my son off the ice.  We walked towards the bleachers together, while the next group of kids made their way towards the ice.  One of the kids, about my son's age, was crying, pleading with his dad not to make him go on the ice:

"Noooooo!!! I don't wanna gooooo!!!"
"But you said you wanted to be a hockey player when you grow up," his father said. 

My son became visibly sympathetic.  "You don't have to be a hockey player" my son told the crying boy.  "You won't get hurt.  And my dad is a paramedic so if you fall, he can make you better."  

As my son and I continued towards the bleachers,  the crying boy began to calm himself, and made his way onto the ice, albeit somewhat reluctantly still.  The wonderment from 
the exchange between the two boys hadn't yet left me.  And as I unlaced my son's skates, he kept his watchful eyes on that boy.  "I just want to make sure he is ok", my four year old son s
aid to me, as he struggled to peer towards the rink in the midst of my removing his gear.  It looked like that boy was fine.  His father appeared either relieved or exhausted, or both.  That father clutched his coffee and filled the seat of a vacating parent.  My son and I joined the group of families leaving the rink, holding hands.  The little girl with the band aid holder was right in front of us.  She stopped, turned towards my son, gave him the plastic ba
nd aid holder, and proceeded on her way right after flashing a grin.  

"Daddy, what's this?" asked my son, as he held the plastic piece up towards me.  "It holds band-aids".  "I want to give one to that boy," he pleaded.  I squeezed my son's hand just a little tighter and told him:  "You already did." As we walked, I saw his little grin out of the corner of my eye. My son couldn't read the words on the band-aid holder either.  But I knew he understood them.  

I went to work at my law firm the next day.  The desks of the associate attorneys in my law office, as well as my own, all are equipped with a box of tissues, each strategically placed within reach of the clients' chairs. I put an empty box of  band-aids next to the tissues in all of the offices just yesterday. I got a papercut on my finger later in the day. I couldn't find a band-aid. My staff thinks I'm off my rocker.