Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hey, Where Did Those Donald Trump Memes Go?

If you had been visiting this blog recently, you would have seen two Donald Trump memes that I created; both of them a bit over-the-top and fairly provocative. Well, guess what? they're gone. I have decided to use my blog for positive posts from now on. There are so many angry political pundits out there already, the world doesn't need another mean-spirited, opinionated rabble rouser for the left, the right or the middle. I have decided that from now on, I'm using social media to be, well… SOCIAL. And I'm going to be just plain sociable, at least for the most part. I am getting ready to launch a new website soon, and I don't want politics to seep into my business. So with that,  I leave you with this little peak into the future - Stay tuned for an announcement about my new site for dog and music lovers. You're gonna like this a LOT!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jon Stewart is Leaving and In a Related Story...

Sometimes,  only Photoshop will satisfy my muse. After reading a lot of posts regarding the Brian Williams debacle, I see I'm clearly not the only one who sees this as a win-win opportunity for Jon Stewart, Brian Williams and Comedy Central. This is what 'm tawkin' about:

Sunday, January 11, 2015


The Word…
Okay, so as Ricky Ricardo would say… I got some 'splayneen to do. About a week and a half ago, I just typed a single word as my Facebook status update. I was curious as to how many would read it or know what it meant or even notice it.  It didn't seem to draw that mush attention, but one of my friends (Judi Morrell) asked me if it was a real word or did I make it up? That word was:
So, now I have to relate how I came to posting this mysterious word in my status bar.
As I may have mentioned, while I lay here in my chemo-induced stupor (well not ALL the time, but a lot), I have been binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How I got into this series is another story for another time. Anyhoo…
One night, while drifting in and out of consciousness during the Season 5 finale; Buffy is about to jump to her death high above the ground from a rickety platform built by demons. Her friends arrive just in time to look up as one of them, a character named Xander exclaims, "SHPADOINKLE!"
My immediate thought was, "Wait, what?! What did he say? It sounded like 'Shpadoinkle'" 
So naturally, I hit the "back" button and replayed the scene. Sure enough, once again, Xander said, "Shpadoinkle". And I gave a little chuckle at the absurdity of the sound of this word. And naturally, I was suddenly awake because I just knew there had to be a story behind it.
So at 1 am, I paused the season 5 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Google the word "Shpadoinkle". I didn't even know how to spell it. I only knew how it sounded so I searched for SHPADOINKLE and got it on the first try!
Turns out it is from a 1993 film called "Cannibal, The Musical"  Trey Parker, the creator of South Park before he joined forces with Matt Stone and became famous. The urban dictionary defines Shpadoinkle thusly:
A term generated in a Matt Stone movie known as Cannibal! The Musical. This word can be a noun, a verb or and adjective and can be substituted for nearly any other word: 

"It really is a shpadoinkle day out today." 
"I think he forgot to wash his hands after he played around with his shpadoinkle." 
" SHPADOINKLE! i think i broke my leg"

From the official Canabal the Musical website, here's what the movie is all about:
Cannibal! The Musical is the true story of the only person convicted of cannibalism in America - Alferd Packer (according to Colorado lore - sole survivor of an ill-fated trip to the Colorado Territory, he tells his side of the harrowing tale to news reporter Polly Pry as he awaits his execution. And his story goes like this: While searching for gold and love in the Colorado Territory, he and his companions lost their way and resorted to unthinkable horrors, including toe-tapping songs!
And finally here are the lyrics the song for the show - 
SHPADOINKLE by Trey Parker
"The sky is blue and all the leaves are green.
The sun's as warm as a baked potato.
I think I know precisely what I mean,
When I say it's a shpadoinkle day.
And as I ride with my girl,
She's my best friend in the whole world!
We'll move along, set our goals high
With eyes full of hope as we aim for the...
Sky is blue and all the leaves are green.
My heart's as full as a baked potato.
I think I know precisely what I mean,
When I say it's a shpadoinkle day!
When I say it's a happy-go-moinkaly lucky shpadoinklely...dayyyyyy."
And there I was at 1 o'clock in the morning, laughing out loud at this new word while watching this goofy video!

Shpadoinkle (from Canibal, The Musical)
Then I went back to the TV and watched the end of "The Gift", the Season 5 finale of Buffy. And went to sleep, planning on sharing my new word with my Facebook friends the next morning.
Shpadoinkle night.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reflections on Charlie Hebdo

The day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, I am still angry and confused by this insane, malicious act. 
Over a cartoon.

Back when I was a freshman in high school, I was talking to a junior about my biology teacher, Mr. Ignatin. This kid says, "Oh, you have "Popeye" Ignatin? He's pretty cool" I asked about the nickname and he explained that all the kids thought Mr. Ignatin looked like Popeye the Sailor because of the cleft in his big chin and, well, his eyes kinda looked like that, too.
Well, that was all it took to get me started. I used to have notebooks full of cartoons that I had created full of caricatures of my teachers and friends in all kinds of cartoony situations (something many of you are learning right now for the first time). So I bought a new little notebook for my Adventures of Popeye Ignatin cartoons. By day, he was a mild biology teacher. By night, a crime fighting superhero who could make a criminal's mind explode by spouting things at them such as, "The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell!" SPLOOSH!!!

One day, I left that book behind in his classroom after the bell rang. When I realized it was missing, I ran back to the classroom but the book was gone. So was Mr. Ignatin. I sweated out the rest of the school year knowing he had seen and read it - waiting for the day I got in trouble for it. He never said a word about it. And somehow, I ended up with a B in biology.

Apparently, he either liked my cartoons or just didn't consider them when passing out grades.
Nevertheless , I decided that year never to become a cartoonist for fear I might leave a sketchbook behind some day and hurt someone's feelings with my caricatures or sarcastic sense of humor. However, I never dreamed it could ever be a fatal career. I guess that's why this incident in France has me so shaken.

I am Charlie. One of many.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crazy Good First Day Of Chemo

With the dog days of summer, 2014 behind us, and Halloween almost upon us… All the leaves are green and the skies are gray,etc….  lately… I got to thinking this past weekend that there aren't too many days left this year before a day at the dog park with Cooper and Keegan would be out of the question. And this past weekend just so happened to be a beautiful Saturday and Sunday back-to-back, so I spent about a hour or two at the dog park both days. Monday, I was going to be starting my post surgery chemotherapy, so I wanted to really enjoy the weather on a park bench watching the dogs play. Everybody wins!
It was on Sunday, however that I struck up a conversation with the gentleman sitting on the bench next to me. He was rather quiet, and I couldn't even tell which dog was his. I was sitting there pensively contemplating going to the hospital the next day and wondering if over the next few weeks I was going to experience any nausea along with the inevitable fatigue and if it would prevent me from trying to find some part time holiday work or even afford me enough energy to work from home, being that I feel so desperately compelled to go back to work again, if even for a few hours a week.
Suddenly, I found myself saying out loud, "Wow, this is my last day of freedom for a while!"
The guy next to me on the bench replied, "Why? Are you going to jail?"
I explained that I had just had rectal cancer surgery and I was going for the chemo" He said, "I know all about it, I'm a doctor" He added, "I'm due for a colonoscopy myself. It's been about ten years"
"Yeah, you're due" I countered.
Anyway, through our conversation, it turns out he was there with his wife who was playing with their dog. The two had just returned from an anniversary celebration in Jamaica. I told him I was a musician and played a lot of Reggae music among other things in my repertoire. It also turns out he delivers babies at St. Mary Medical Center where I go for the chemo and had my surgery, and he knows my oncologist. I asked him his name and he said, "Aaron"  I told him, "That's my MIDDLE name, Hal Aaron Cohen!"  Then his wife came over and we talked all conversed a little longer before I said goodbye and headed home. They wished me luck and I said "thank you".

Next day (Monday), I go to the Saint Clare building at St. Mary's for my appointment to sit for two hours while the wonderful staff there administered the chemo-cocktail. Not two minutes after I sat down, one of the office managers walked up to me carrying a huge gift basket wrapped in cellophane from David's Florist and my first thought was, this is for someone else. She said, no, the card says it's for Hal Aaron Cohen. I'm like - WHO EVEN KNOWS I'M HERE?  

Well, it turns out that Dr. Aaron knew exactly where I'd be at 1:30 PM that Monday, because I just told him the day before. When I saw the name "Doctor Aaron" on the card, my jaw dropped. I really was speechless. I still can't quite get over it. And upon examining the contents of the basket, it became quite clear that he and his wife left the park and did a little shopping. Because this wasn't one of this "off-the-shelf-as-is" baskets. Everything in it was hand picked. There was Arizona Green Tea and Honey, bottles of flavored Smart Water, Energy bars, candy, All kinds of miscellaneous goodies, dog treats for Cooper and Keegan and what appeared to be a big box of candy in the middle. It was heavy. Like a big mass of solid dark chocolate. As I began to unwrap it, however, it turned out to be a book. Which was perfect, because I was wondering what to read for two hours during the treatment, and I forgot to stop at the library. The book was "Waging Heavy Peace" by Neil Young; and autobiographical tome about his family, his early days with Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y to his present projects including electric cars and his PureTone music platform that plays back music with a quality much more pristine than the current MP3s. At any rate, this stuff is interesting to me :-)  What a thoughtful gift! I am blown away!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Cooper and Keegan were driving my sister crazy. Especially Keegan, who had been barking non-stop since I left the house. Cindy (my sister) is laid up at the moment with a torn tendon in her foot, so she can't get out of bed. Poor Rob (my brother-in-law) wouldn't be home from work till after I got home, so it was up to me to walk her dog Lola, along with my two fur balls as soon as I got home. When I got home, I was carrying two jackets (because it was cold when I left) and the basket of goodies, when my phone started ringing.  I figured it was Cindy calling to see where I was, but I just let it ring since I was already walking up the driveway. Turns out it wasn't her calling anyway. Oh, and I also had a pretty full ileostomy bag (I know - gross). WELLLL --- I finally got the dogs walked, bag emptied, shoes off and in bed before Rob got home. He made a killer frittata omelette for dinner and that was the perfect topper to a Crazy/Good first day of chemo!

Now, how do I thank Dr. and Mrs. Aaron?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The “Scotchguard® - er of Linen Napkins

I recently came across a folder with some of my essays I was saving for this blog. Inside was this rant. As I read it, i thought - Wow, talk about sweating the small stuff! Nevertheless, I felt that somewhere out there is someone who shares the same feeling, and, well, whoever you are - I just don't want you to feel alone...

Linen Napkins

Now, here's is a guy who must always work under the table. Because if anyone ever found out about him. they would string him up by his balls. He is the “Scotchguard® - er of linen napkins for the restaurant industry. You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those linen napkins they give you at the nice resataurants. - you know - those napkins they roll the she silverware in. You unroll the napkin, set the silverware back on the table and place the linen napkin on your lap.
Halfway through the meal, you get some Worcestershire sauce on your chin and the only thing you have with which to wipe it off is the linen napkin on you lap. Or maybe you got baby back ribs. Again, no paper napkins. No wet naps like the fast food places give you. Just that linen napkin that your silverware came rolled up in. So you take it off your lap and wipe the sauce off your chin. Only it doesn’t absorb the sauce. What it does do is - It smears the fucking sauce all over your fucking face or runs right off onto your clothing! Which it’s supposed to be protecting in the first place. So what’s the point of having a g-d damn napkin if it does the opposite of what you intended to use it for? Fuck me!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Absolutely Radiant? - Well No, Not Really

Well, I'm finally in the home stretch. This first phase consists of 28 treatments of combined chemo and radiation therapy sessions.  After that, I will meet with my surgeon, Dr. Schaffzin to schedule the operation where he will remove the tumor. In the meantime the tumor will continue to shrink. After it's been shrunk to a manageable size, it will be removed - along with part of my rectum on either side of the cancerous section. Then part of my colon will be attached to replace the missing anal real estate.

L - R Kristine, Melanie and Carrie
Friday will be my last day of chemo and Monday, July 14th is my final radiation visit. I told you about the chemo in my last blog, so now, I think it's time I give a nod to the Radiation Department. Thanks to the great staff in Radiology at St. Mary's Medical Center, my treatments were nowhere near as uncomfortable and humiliating as they could have been. In fact, I actually look forward to exposing my full moon to the attractive radiologists on duty. Every one of them is good natured, has a great sense of humor and they're all extremely competent in their field. 

On the first day, they had me lie down on this surface that
Selfie with my Ray-Girlz
reminds me of a massage table. You put your face into a space with blue vinyl trim and there's also a vinyl trimmed crater where you're belly is supposed to fit. However, since I had lost so much weight, my gut doesn't touch the bottom of it, so their's really no support. This causes some discomfort, because now my spine is arched in an unnatural position. Eventually, I got used to it, and fortunately, I never experienced any severe side effects from the radiation, so lying in that position turned out to be the worst of it.

Last week someone brought in a therapy dog. Theoretically, these dogs are supposed to cheer people up and have a healing effect on the patients. Unfortunately, this one was just plain fugly. And the owner looked just like him, except he
Charlie - I think.
wore a beat up cowboy hat and worn-out clothes. Actually, the dog was very gentle, but I think he was a little bored from being petted and fawned over all morning by so many people.

I think his name was Charlie. Or maybe that was the owner's name. I forget… hmmm, maybe there are side effects. Nah, I think it's just my age.

Oh yeah, and there's always a basket full of snacks, and it's usually filled with junk food containing plenty of salt and sugar; stuff like Lorna Dunes, Fig Newtons and sandwich cookies. There's also a mini fridge stocked with bottled water and soda. Lots of  cola and Mountain Dew So while they're treating you for cancer, they can set you up bring you back a little later to treat you for diabetes. Hey, a hospital has to stay in business somehow, right?  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saying F U to Cancer

Going through cancer treatment is a multi-faceted journey and depending on which course one subscribes to, can consist of conventional medicine, alternative medicine, spiritualism, holisitic, Eastern, Native American or a combination of all known remedies. My approach is to start out using conventional medicine to get a jump on the tumor because at the moment, I need to take the time to research other resources. I am in the process of labsorbing a lot of wisdom right now from friends, books and documentaries I will share with you as much as I can as I go through this odyssey.

First up: The Chemo (or Saying FU to Cancer)

Rather than go to the hospital as an outpatient for daily chemo, which would require me to sit in a chair for hours each day while the medicine slowly drips through a tube into my bloodstream, I am fortunate enough to be able to have the drug Flourouracil (5-FU) administered through a pump (Geez, did I really use the words "chemo" and "fortunate" in the same sentence?). 

Typically, I would go in on a Monday, where they would attach a transparent line to a port in my chest and then have it disconnected on Friday, so I could be unencumbered for the weekend.  The pump looks like an eight track player and is in a case with a strap that goes around my neck which I must then carry around Monday through Friday wherever go. It's important to remember it's on, because accidentally pulling on the line can be rather painful. Also if the line gets pinched, an alarm goes off to let me know the medicine stopped flowing and I need to uncrimp it ASAP. So far, I haven't experienced any major problems, however, there have been a few times where I took it off and got a slightly painful tug when I attempted to walk away without it - ouch!

Anyway, they say a picture is worth a thousand words so here's a little video I made right before my trip back to St. Mary Medical Center to have the hose unattached for the weekend. I also demonstrate how to make the best if the situation by converting the contraption into a combination chemo dispenser and mp3 player. I call it "The iPump".