Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Watch what you're buying

Every once in a while I get those ever pesky Spam e-mails for Rolex and other big name counterfeit watch brands, which I always trash. They kind of remind me of an old experience I had.

In the mid-seventies, I managed a Weiner King restaurant in Warminster, PA. It was to be sold as a franchise of the main restaurant based out of Flemington, NJ. We opened it and I managed it for months before a suitable buyer was found.

One afternoon, I was sitting in the office doing paperwork. After the lunch rush, that was generally what I did on most days. An employee came to the door and said there was a man standing at the counter wanting to see the person in charge. I walked up and asked him what I could do for him. He lifted up a brown paper bag, the kind you used to get at the supermarket. It probably said ACME on it.

"Inside this bag I have all these big name watches. Would you like to look at them?" he asked as he slowly opened it up. I've never been one to wear watches. I don't really care for any type of jewelry or adornments. To me, it just feels uncomfortable, all dangly and moving around or too tight and restricting, but for some strange reason, I've always wanted to own a nice watch.

"C'mon back here, into my office." I told him. I sat down at my desk and said, "Let's see what you've got in there." He started to bring out watch after watch. I saw all types of wristwatches. Jules Juergensen. Elgin. Waltham. Bulova. Nothing too fancy or expensive, but very nice. All of a sudden, two watches caught my eye. "I like this band, but I like this watch. How much are they?"

$20 each."

"OK. Could I buy this one, but switch bands?" It was a Hamilton that I was interested in.

"Mmm. OK, but hurry up." He started to fidget a little bit and look nervously out the door, as if waiting for the Warminster Watch Police to suddenly burst through the front doors, guns drawn. I gave him the twenty bucks and removed the two bands. The one I wanted was a very nice gold mesh that sparkled in the light and truly complemented the watch I chose, all gold and exquisite. After the exchange, it looked like a million bucks! I looked up to show him, but he was gone. I got up and looked around. He was nowhere. I went outside. Gone. Dang, that guy was fast, I thought. Oh well. I went back to my office and decided to set the time.

The interesting thing about this new acquisition was that the minute hand was strategically placed over the "R" in Hamilton. Now, before you go saying there is no "R" in Hamilton, let me explain that it wasn't a Hamilton watch I bought after all. It was a Harmilton. That second hand completely hid that letter. I was now the proud owner of a very nice Harmilton watch. I wound it up. Battery watches weren't invented yet, at least not the wristwatch variety. It worked! As a matter of fact, that watch worked great for a month or two, until a girl slapped me on the wrist in a teasing gesture and fractured the glass crystal. Then, it stopped. Never worked again. I learned my lesson to never buy merchandise from a street vendor who comes banging at your door until...

A couple of years ago, I was in New York City and a guy was peddling Rolex watches. Very nice ones, too, and at just $20, it was a steal. I bought one, a real stunner. A friend of mine bought a different one while he was on a cruise and the funny thing is, his has the same serial number as mine. No big deal since I only wear it a couple of times a year. I get a lot of compliments when I do and if anyone asks about it, I tell them the truth - that I talked the guy down from $30. And hey, the best part is that it doesn't say Rolrex.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Thanksgiving Menu (Click Image to Enlarge)

I'll never figure out why no one
seems to want to come to
my house for dinner.

Oh well,
I always have
lots of leftovers!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 15, 2006

The top picture is my brother, Tim. He came down to visit for a week. If it wasn't for him, I would not know I am diabetic.

The picture below him is what every mother desires, to have all of her children together at the same time. She took the picture. Me, my older brother, Sam, my younger sister, Maggie, and baby brother, Tim. I know. What happened to me?

Friday, November 10, 2006

I Never Liked Needles

When I was young in the late sixties and early seventies, I experimented with drugs. Nothing heavy, mind you, just the simple stuff like marijuana. Back then, the government and police said that marijuana leads to other drugs, such as cocaine, LSD and heroin. It's probably the same message, but I've been out of the loop for so long, I couldn't tell you. What I can say is that I would never do anything with a needle. I hate them. As a kid, I was scared to death when I had to get shots. I could never be a heroin addict. I never wanted to try it anyway. Besides, what good could ever come out of tooth-rotting drugs like the big hits of today, crack, heroin and crystal meth?

I like my KitKat bars, though. Around Halloween, I go buy a bag for the trick or treaters that never come. Oh, I'd better go buy another bag, just in case. I live in a neighborhood where only one kid resides. They tend to go to areas where there are lots of other children walking the haunts. Safety in numbers, I guess. A lot go to malls now, where it's a very safe haven for getting treats. With all these child predators and molesters around, who knows? And because of Disney, there are plenty of hotels. Some advertise to bring your children here. They probably supply candy to their guests to hand out. I know one family that planned to do it that way. In any event, those KitKat bars couldn't just sit there, so I ate them.

As you get older, the little aches and pains associated with aging start to creep up on you. Sometimes, I go for days at a time with a general feeling of malaise. A little tired and achy. I get an occasional sharp nerve pain. Sometimes, my vision will be a little bit more blurry than usual. I know eyes change with age and I started wearing reading glasses a number of years ago, but this comes and goes. I'm more thirsty and urinate more often now. It's been that way for a while. I figured that as a male gets older, his prostate grows and you have to go more often anyway. No big deal yet. I'm not worried about a thing. Besides, I never go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to.

For quite a few years now, my mother has been a diabetic. She takes two shots of insulin a day. It wasn't always like that, but the disease progresses as you get older, especially if you grew up in the era of steak and potatoes. It's tough to break old habits. Fortunately, diets have changed over the years and I have changed with the times. A couple of years ago, I had a case of the hiccups that just wouldn't go away. Finally, I went to a doctor and he ran blood work, an upper GI and chest x-rays. He thought I had a lung tumor but it turned out to be a hernia in my esophagus. Along with a couple of prescriptions, he told me to cut out the starches. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were a little above normal, but no serious cause for alarm. I dropped from 205 lbs to the "svelte" 165 that I am today. He told me then that my pancreas, liver, kidneys and heart were perfect! My lungs were nice and pink. And I'm a smoker. Of course, he told me to quit. I haven't yet.

My brother Tim is visiting from out of town and staying with my folks. Yesterday morning, my mother made breakfast for us and took one of her twice daily glucose tests. My brother asked if he could take his. His blood sugar level turned out normal at 106. He asked me to take the test. Reluctantly, I agreed. Mine was 200 something. Not good, my mother said. My brother gave me a look of concern. Ah, I'm not too worried about it. OK, we'll check it again before dinner. It was 238. You are a diabetic, my mother told me. She certainly has enough experience to know. This morning, it was 261. On an empty stomach. She's going to make an appointment with her doctor for me to get tested. I've never been a great one for exercise, but this morning, my brother and I took a 20 minute walk. Every morning, I'm going to take a walk and slowly increase the time. I'm going to adjust my diet again and hopefully, I can bring my sugar level down so I won't have to go on insulin. Fat is the real enemy. Cinnamon is supposed to help. I'll do whatever it takes. Diabetes can damage the eyes. It can lead to kidney disease, heart and blood vessel disease and nerve damage (neuropathy). I don't even want to think about going there.

Next time I eat a KitKat bar, I'll eat one instead of five. With my broccoli. And an apple.

Thanks, Tim. It's a great thing you came to visit, as always. Even if nothing was wrong with me.

If you would like more information on diabetes, please click HERE.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why the Republicans are Feeling Blue

Why did the Republicans lose this midterm election? Let me count the ways. Iraq. W. Cheney. Rumsfeld. Halliburton. Good old Jack Abramoff. Ney. Foley. Haggard. Karl Rove. Eavesdropping without a court order. Abu Ghraib. The religious right. Abortion. Stem cell research. Scandals and corruption at all levels. 12 years of one party congressional rule. You're either with us or against us. Stay the course. Nucular (although Jimmy Carter said it the same way). The War President (remember that one?)

Did I leave anything out? Oh yes, Weapons of Mass Destruction. Red States. Blue States.

Even the pompous John Kerry or the threat of the very liberal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House could not derail what the American public thought about the last 3 years under this president and congress.

America has spoken. Let this be a testament to the rest of the world on the will of this country.