Saturday, December 26, 2009

It ain't Christmas until...

...I see Mr. Magoo's Christmas Story...

...the Norelco Santa sledding down the hill on his floating heads...

...and a Black Adder Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009


1. Buying lottery tickets as Christmas presents.

2. The movie theaters that are opened on Christmas Day.

3. Mickey Mouse and Disney lighteed Christmas yard displays

4. Bob Dylan's Christmas CD

5. The people that wait until the day after Christmas to do all their Christmas shopping.

6. The retail businesses that stay opened on Christmas and force their employees to not spend the day with their families.

7. Cartons of Cigarette with printed Christmas packaging. This used to be a cheap present, but not anymore.

8. The Hairy Simian Chorus. Yep, that's the name. They sing The Little Drummer Boy. A song with way too many Pah-rumpy-pump-pums to suit me!

9. The song "Santa Baby" A tune in which one can't tell if they are celebrating the birth of Jesus or the birth of Marilyn Monroe?

10. All the Christian sects that prevent their children from celebrating the day and getting presents.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

All Baby-boomers learned in elementary school this was the day the Japanese attacked the United States Naval Fleet that was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

President Franklin Roosevelt declared this a “Day that would live in infamy”.

I find it odd that CNN, The New York Daily News, The New York Post and The North Korean Times did not bother to make mention of this day.
I was being cynical about the North Korean Times. But what does that say about the other news outlets?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Health Care Blues of the Night

I've been wanting to put this song together on my tape recorder for a couple of months.

I sincerely apologize to Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen.

Both were among the greatest songwriters and lyricists of all time. I'm afraid I've made a shambles of a wonderful tune they wrote. Without further delay I present;

The Healthcare Blues of the Night

Obama done tol’ me,
We gotta’ have healthcare,
Healthcare for everyone.
The rich and poor ones.
The old and the young ones,
Healthcare for everyone.
The next generation,
is gonna’ be payin’ and payin’,
an’ payin’ for it.

Obama done tol’ me,
We’re gonna’ have healthcare,
Healthcare is gonna’ come.
In the Red and the Blue states,
There might be a long wait,
If you are sick and need a doctor son.
So quit all your whinin'
give into the man
who's got the big plan
for Healthcare.

Can’t you hear Pelozi crowin’
Harry Reid is surely goin’
Obama don’ tol’ me
Glenn Beck’s ‘bout to have a hemorrhage,
Limbaugh needs an adult beverage,
So start realizin’
There’s no comprimisin’
‘cause we’re socializin’ healthcare.

From Memphis to Mobile,
from New York to L.A,
Healthcare is gonna’ come.
It’s movin’ quite steady,
You better get ready,
For healthcare for everyone.
It’s such a boondoggle
The governments trying
To mess up and
Toggle healthcare.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Healthcare Guidelines

I read the news today oh boy!

This past week we saw two topics in the United States news.

1. Mammograms are not required for women under 50 years of age.

2. Pap smears should not be done on an annual basis. But should only be done once every three years.

Now I don't know what you read into this. But what I believe is this is shades of things to come due to the Democratic proposed Health care legislation. I think they are floating these two topics in the media to see what kind of reaction they receive.

My thoughts are that if we had eliminated annual Pap smears my wife would not be here. If women had to wait until 50 to have mammograms, my sister-in-law would not be here.

These are both exceptionally bad ideas. Shame on the Government and Healthcare system for proposing these changes.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy Adventures

In the practice of Gastroenterology an esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a diagnostic endoscopic procedure that visualizes the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract up to the duodenum. For the sake of brevity, this 26 letter word is usually abbreviated EGD. I had an EGD procedure done last Wednesday.

The procedure is not bothersome at all, since you are anesthetized. They do squirt some local anesthetic in the back of your mouth which has a rather unpleasant taste. Beyond that, you recall nothing. At least that was my experience.

Upon arriving at the doctors building, I was escorted to the recovery room and asked to remove my shirt. A couple of nurses then pounced upon me. One attached electrodes to my chest and the other jabbed an IV needle in the back of my hand.

Within minutes my gurney was wheeled back to a room with some computer monitors, a large black tubie looking thing, the doctor and his two attack nurses. One was the squirter and the other put the general anesthetic in my IV and I was instantly unconscious.

I have no idea what next ensued, but I have a foggy recall of visions in the recovery room. It was astounding, as I saw two of everybody.

Later that evening my wife and I went out for dinner and I asked her, “How did I get home? I don’t recall anything.” We even went out for breakfast after the procedure and for the life of me I can’t remember where or what I ordered. She said she was surprised I didn't remember and proceded to describe my odd behavior.

She said the nurses had called her back since my breathing was labored after the procedure. I was panting. They wanted her to encourage me to breath normally.

Once I did sort of wake up, she tells me I was telling the nurses what a great doctor they worked for since he only hired twins. I said it was a great way to keep their families close. After that Linny tells me several of the nurses, taking advantage of my nonsense, came over and introduced me to their twin. She then shooed them away by saying, “You guys, cut that out!”

I sat on the edge of the bed and just kept saying, “Hi. How ya’ doin’ Hi there. How are you.”

I am very friendly and outgoing when I'm coming out of anesthesia.

I have not a clue as to whether I walked out or was taken out of the building in a wheelchair to our car. What is scary is that I still don’t remember.

BTW, the tests all showed I no longer have an ulcer and the Barretts Esophageal lesion is no worse. Since Barretts is pre-cancerous this is very good news.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chet Atkin's Wife Leona Passes

Parts of this post are from the Cincinnati Enquirer and Nashville Tennessean

Chet Atkins is my favorite guitar player. And though he passed away eight years ago, I am still learning guitar from listening to his recordings and as of late watching his performances on Youtube. Chet's wife passed away earlier this week.

Leona Atkins was 85 and had been ill for some time.

The list of her pallbearers and honorary pallbearers for Leona Johnson Atkins certainly shows she and her family were highly respected and loved by the Country Music Community. Helping carry the former singer were Vince Gill, the Everly Brothers and Ray Stevens.

Mrs. Atkins was born Leona Johnson in Williamsburg Ohio in 1924 and grew up in Clermont County. She met her husband, guitar legend, fiddle player, record producer and industry executive Chet Atkins, while performing on WLW radio. She and her sister were called "Fern and LaVern" on the show. Leona was LaVern and sister Lois was Fern.

She used to tell the story of how she and her husband met at WLW on the stations program, Boone County Jamboree. She felt sorry for him as he sat, alone, practicing so much, so she decided to befriend him. She gave up her career after they married in 1946. As an aside, Leona's sister met and married another WLW musician from that same era, mandolin player Kenneth Burns. Burns was Jethro of the country comedy duo, Homer and Jethro.

In her days with Bill McCluskey's road show, she talked about how much traveling they did and how long those days were. They traveled to shows throughout the Midwest almost every night of the week, but had to be back in Cincinnati each morning for the WLW show. They often drove all night in their Studebaker bus, singing along the way.

"Her family, and her and her sister, Lois, did a lot of county fairs around the area," said Mike Martini, a local broadcast historian who sat at her kitchen table in Nashville three or four years ago to do an oral history interview. "They just loved to perform."

Atkins allowed Martini to copy her scrapbook. She told him that if her husband were sitting with them there, he'd have a guitar in his hand and be playing while he spoke.

In an article by Vince Gill, he tells the story of visiting Mrs. Atkins after Chet's passing. Leona remained close to many of the players that Chet had befriended and taken under his wing. Leona knew how much Gill like a particular guitar in Chet's collection. It was an old Martin 00-28. Upon leaving her home she presented Gill with the guitar. He says he was stunned and so appreciative at her generousity.

She's a big part of what made Chet great," said Gill. "They were an inseparable pair: When you saw him, you saw her.

"She and Chet were a team," said recording artist Steve Wariner, a longtime friend. "She'd tell stories about the hours he'd practice, how he'd play and fall asleep with the guitar still in his lap. She'd take it out of his lap and put him to bed." I'd come over and she'd always say, 'Sing me something,' Wariner said. "And when I started having hits, there was nobody happier for me. But she had such pride in the music Chet made. She'd say, 'Nobody did it like Chester.' "

"I have always teased (Leona) about coming on the show and singing a duet with me, which she has always declined to do," wrote Garrison Keillor, host of radio show A Prairie Home Companion, on the show's Web site. "She and her sister... were a fine sister duet act, doing sentimental songs and novelty tunes, and when I came to write the screenplay for A Prairie Home Companion (the movie), it occurred to me to put a sister duet in it and name them for Leona and Lois. I sort of thought of Meryl Streep as the Leona character, so I gave my character a little wistful romance with her."

Atkins is survived by her daughter, Merle Atkins Russell, of Nashville; granddaughter Amanda Sawyer; grandson Jonathan Russell; great-grandsons Jamie and Will Sawyer; a brother, Earl Johnson, of Hamilton; and five sisters; Norma Jean Fox and Shirley Kautz, both of Dayton, Virginia Komo and Catherine Smith, both of Milford; and Florence Ritchey of Mt. Orab.

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama - Nobel Peace Prize

I am not understanding this at all.

All the Israeli's that I know were very upset about Obama when he visited early in his presidency.

Obama has cozied up to that Saudis, Iran and a few other Muslim nations and assured them his name is Hussein.

I may have blinked but I don't recall any actual peace agreements except for....

...well, The Obama Administration has taken a piece of the banking industry, a piece of the automobile industry, a piece of the credit card industry and a piece of the mortgage industry. The Administration is working diligently on getting a piece of the health care industry.

Never mind! I guess Obama does deserve a Piece Prize.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Not the band Aerosmith, but the book Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis that was a best seller in 1925. In fact Lewis was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for this novel, but he turned it down. Lewis was assisted in writing the book with the help of a real bacteriologist that he had befriended, Dr. Paul L. DeKruif . The science references and discussion in the book are accurate.

The story is about the life of a doctor whose goal is to become a bacteriologist. He devotes his entire life to the study of microorganisms in the hope to erradicate disease. Through his journey we learn that not much has changed in the medicine and pharmacuedical business from the past Century.

A couple of paragraphs in this book stood out as being prophetic. To think this book was published in 1925.

The paragraphs are the thoughts of Martin Arrowsmith's microbiology professor and mentor, Dr. Max Gottlieb.

He reflected (it was an international debate in which he was joined by a few and damned by many) that half a dozen generations nearly free from epidemics would produce a race so low in natural immunity that when a great plague, suddenly springing from almost-zero to aworld-smothering cloud, appeared again, it might wipe out the worldentire, so that the measures to save lives to which he lent his genius might in the end be the destruction of all human life.

He meditated that if science and public hygiene did removetuberculosis and the other major plagues, the world was grimly certain to become so overcrowded, to become such a universal slave-packed shambles, that all beauty and ease and wisdom would disappear in a famine-driven scamper for existence. Yet these speculations never checked his work. If the future became overcrowded, the future must by birth-control or otherwise look to itself.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sand Animation - Nazi Invasion of The Ukraine

Hitler invaded the Soviet Russian Provence of The Ukraine in 1941 under Operation Barbarossa. This was a German attempt to wrest control of a nation that was rich in agriculture from the Russians. During this invasion one in four Ukrainians were savagely murdered by German troops.

The following video is from the TV show, "Ukraine's Got Talent". Yes, there is such a show. The usual winner for America's Got Talent or Britain's Got Talent is someone who sings and perhaps dances. However Kysenia Siminova's specialty is sand art or sand animation. She does this by putting sand on a light box and creating wonderful caricatures.

This sequence depicts the Nazi invasion of the Ukraine. Although I cannot read the final words, I can tell you 1945 is the year that WWII ended and the war was over.

By watching the audience and the judges reaction you can tell these people have not forgotten history (as is the case in the much of the United States).

The video is as amazing as it is touching.

(Click on the second button from the right for a full screen view.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Zoey Rose

Baby Zoey Rose Franxman arrived this morning at around 9 AM and says she is very hungry.


Daddy Glen & Mommy Elizabeth

Big brother Ben

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ellie Greenwich - The Undisputed Queen of Pop & Leader of The Pack

Ellie Greenwich, the New York songwriter behind a string of 1960s hits that gave effervescent voice to unbridled teen romance including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Chapel of Love" and "Be My Baby," many of them in collaboration with her husband, Jeff Barry, died August 26Th of a heart attack. She was 68.

Brian Wilson was quoted as saying, "She was the greatest melody writer of all time." The chief creative force of the Beach Boys, whose music was strongly influenced by many of the hits Greenwich and her husband Jeff Barry wrote with Spector, has often cited "Be My Baby" as his favorite record of all time.

"Those songs are part of the fabric of forever," said songwriter Diane Warren. "Ellie's songs were written in the '60s, and it's 2010 almost, but they are as relevant and meaningful today as the day when they were born."

Greenwich and Barry were part of the fabled Brill Building stable of professional songwriters that also included the teams of Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil as well as Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka and Neil Diamond. Greenwich also broke ground as one of the first female record producers, working with Barry in crafting Diamond's early recordings, including "Cherry Cherry," "Solitary Man" and " Kentucky Woman."

Diamond had struggled as a songwriter until he came under the wing of Greenwich and Barry, who'd already logged numerous shimmering pop hits for groups such as the Ronettes, the Crystals, the Dixie Cups and Ronnie Spector. After recording some demos of his songs with Greenwich supplying backup vocals, Diamond recalled her telling him, " 'I think you're pretty good -- maybe you'd like to meet my husband, and we could sit and talk.''.

They got me a contract, as a writer with [Jerry] Leiber and [Mike] Stoller's Trio Music."The songwriting-production team of Leiber and Stoller, who had written many of Elvis Presley's hits and dozens of other chart-topping '50s songs, had been impressed with Greenwich's songs and brought her into their company."

"The songs that they wrote were simple but very wonderful," Stoller said Wednesday. "She was very gifted at writing that kind of a song. She was just terrific."

Their collaborations with Wall of Sound creator Phil Spector are regarded among the greatest singles ever created. The music publishing rights organization Broadcast Music Inc. lists more than 200 songs she wrote or co-wrote, including "Then He Kissed Me" (the Crystals), "I Can Hear Music" (The Ronettes, Beach Boys), "Hanky Panky" (a hit for Tommy James & the Shondells), "Maybe I Know" (Lesley Gore) and the song Spector considered his greatest recording, "River Deep, Mountain High" (Ike and Tina Turner).

Greenwich has said that the title phrase of "Da Doo Ron Ron" was never intended to be part of the song; it was improvised as a nonsensical space filler until she and Barry could come up with a real line to follow the tune's opening lyric: "I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still." "We got all the rest of the words and music together, but we couldn't find anything for this bit." she said in 2005. "Believe me, it doesn't mean a thing."

On the other hand, when she and Barry wrote "There she was just a walkin' down the street" to start another song, she responded with what she imagined a young girl skipping down a street would sing: "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do." "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" became a No. 1 hit in 1965 for the British group Manfred Mann.

Eleanor Louise Greenwich was born Oct. 23, 1940, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to a Catholic father and a Jewish mother. They moved to Levittown, Long Island, when she was about 11, and she began studying accordion before switching to piano.She enrolled at Queens College when she was 17 and in 1958 released a single with two songs she had written, "Silly Isn't It" and "Cha-Cha Charming." She transferred to Hofstra University, where she met Barry. She graduated in 1962, and married Barry the same year.

Their common interest in music also gave birth to a songwriting team. On a visit to the Brill Building, she was plunking out notes on a piano while waiting to meet with another writer, and Leiber looked in thinking he was hearing Carole King.

Greenwich introduced herself, showed off some of her songs and soon Leiber and Stoller offered her a songwriting contract at Trio Music.

She and Barry recorded a few songs as the Raindrops, but their biggest hit reached only No. 17, "The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget." Leiber and Stoller also had been working with Spector, who clicked with Greenwich and Barry and crafted many of his biggest successes with their help. We just got Phil," she said in 2001. "We made him laugh. And we understood him. We accepted his idiosyncrasies. . . . I think he just felt safe with us. Plus, we turned out some really good stuff."

Greenwich suffered a nervous breakdown after she and Barry divorced in 1965, and the hits stopped flowing. The public's attention was shifting to the Beatles and other British invasion bands as well as a rising crop of self-contained singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, putting many Brill Building pros out of work."When my marriage fell apart and my style dropped out of fashion, it seemed there wasn't anything left." she told an Australian newspaper in 2005.

"It's easy to say I had plenty left, but that's not how it seems when you're there."In the '80s she created a musical titled "Leader of the Pack" that included many her pop hits and told the story of her rise to fame and equally steep fall.

She bounced back with new songs, and scored Tony and Grammy Award nominations for her show. As recently as 1997 one of her songs, "The Sunshine After the Rain," became a dance-pop hit in England and Australia. Cyndi Lauper, Nona Hendryx and Desmond Child were among artists who recorded her compositions in recent years.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Edward Kennedy's Legacy

Senator Edward Kennedy died last week. He is being eulogized as the Lion of the United States Senate. His legacy is very complex. He acheived some admirable goals, but his behavior and left leaning views left his image tarnished.

Two weeks prior to his death, he gave President Obama a ten page sealed letter to deliver to the Pope during Obama's visit to the Vatican. Perhaps this best exemplifies the power the Kennedy's weilled in that the very President of our nation is used as a mailman.

Subsequently the Pope, who recently sent condolences to the Kennedy family on the death of Kennedy's sister, has been silent about Edward Kennedy. At his funeral mass we learn the letter was part confession and part justification for his life. No mention was made of his stance on abortion.

JFK and Robert Kennedy were assassinated in days when government officials were held in esteem and protected by a silenced news media. Those days are gone, due to former President Nixon being caught in lies and deceit. His brother's deaths left Edward Kennedy as the golden boy. For the position he was handed, his wealth, attitude and behavior got the better of him.

It is no secret that he was an alcoholic.

This first came to light when he drove off a bridge, killing Mary Jo Kopechne into Poucha Pond, a tidal basin off of Chappaquiddick island. He rescued himself and left her to perish in the overturned vehicle and did not report anything until the following day. After this he made a tearful plea on national television for forgiveness. A secret inquest and a Massachusetts grand jury investigation acquitted Kennedy of wrong doing. I ask you, did this seem just?

During the Viet Nam era, a time that most of the younger generation has long since forgotten, Kennedy initially was vocal regarding the expansion of United States involvement. During those days when we would see our nations young men being shipped home in a box every night on the six o'clock news.

However the Kennedy family seemed to avoid being drafted into the armed services, a plight that befell millions of boys that were fresh out of high school, unable to buy their way out of a future in Southeast Asia.

During the Nixon years Kennedy's strong backing of the unions lead to his crusade for government mandated health care. Due to the impetus of the unions he pushed for a single payer US health care system. He compromised with the administration for the creation of HMO's.

This move took health care decisions out of the hands of doctors and medical professionals and putting them into the hands of insurance company bureaucrats. This is a situation the current Administration would like to take up a notch.

His divorce, the Chappaquiddick incident, his support of abortion, his chronic alcoholism and womanizing only furthered his blotched reputation. He was instrumental in passing legislation for the COBRA act, which was to make health care portable upon leaving employment, however most common folks cannot afford the oppressively high monthly out-of-pocket premiums.

His reputation was further tarnished during a stay at the family's Palm Beach estate, when he walked into a bedroom clad in only a nightshirt where his nephew was with a young lady. The nephew and the young lady left the home and had sex on the beach. But the young lady said later that it was rape. A nationally televised trial only shed further light on Kennedy's drinking a philandering.

I say all of these negative things about Kennedy, but there was some good that came of his 46 years as a Senator. Most of this had to do with various health care acts that made health care portable and a new Medicare provision to provide affordable drugs. He also favored strong action against the Taliban and pointed out the vulnerability of the military Humvee. He helped broker peace in Ireland. He favored compromise over demanding his way.

It is bothersome to me there are no term limits for the United States Congress. It is beyond me, with all the crap that Kennedy did during his lifetime, he was consistently re-elected by the citizens of Massachusetts.

In my opinion it is time to think about term limits for both the US Senate and the House.