I’M Sick Of It

In my day, the olden days, sometimes people just got sick. Now everything is a syndrome or disorder with a strange name and probably some acronym. I am sick of these. Of course for every syndrome there is a pill — typically with side effects that would keep me from ever using the cure.

Today I read about a new one that tops all that came before it.  POIS. I am sure you must have heard of it. No? It stands for post-orgasmic illness syndrome (I told you that they are all syndromes).

What are the symptoms of PIOS you ask? As described in an article in the Chicago Tribune, POIS is when men are allergic to their own semen, developing a mysterious flu-like illness after they have an ejaculation. Seriously? I do not intend to make light of the poor schmucks who suffer from this debilitating illness. Symptoms include feverishness, runny nose, extreme fatigue and burning eyes, which can last for up to a week.

No, I come to make fun of the researchers in the Netherlands who found these men and chose to study them only to come up with some asinine name like post-orgasmic illness syndrome.

Is there any illness left to discover and name. I get it with astronomers naming planets and stars…but illnesses.

I long for the good old days when you could just be sick.

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The Dick Van Dyke Show And Me

In an interview, Dick Van Dyke proclaimed that of all of the movies and TV work he is known for, his days making the Dick Van Dyke Show were the most fun.

That the cast was having fun certainly came through. I have wonderful memories of that show. How could you not laugh hysterically with Dick, Laura, Sally, Buddy , Mel, Alan Brady and the rest of the cast. It integrated physical comedy, low brow one liners, a bit of high comedy and the occasional song and dance number delivered by characters you could relate to.

It only lasted 5 season because that comic genius Carl Reiner was concerned that the show could get stale. How different from today’s “squeeze every last moment’ (read dollar) from a TV show.

So, how does this wonderful TV history involve me? I had a good year at work this year. I worked myself to near-death but it paid of in a decent bonus. I wanted to reward myself with a treat. The BIG treat will be a digital SLR if I ever figure out what to buy. In the meantime I went looking for something small. I decided that I wanted, no needed, The DVD Show complete series. I had looked at this from time to time over the years. It lists for about $250. I would not spend that much.

The day after Christmas was the first day I had time to internet shop. Sure enough it was on sale at Amazon for $115. Still a little high but this was by definition a treat. I dropped it in my virtual shopping cart along with some other items. I did not push the buy button because I was still figuring out what camera to add. Anyways, if it was on sale the day after Christmas it would be on sale for the week. Right? Wrong! Two days later it was up to $165 and another day later to $183 where it sits today. Too rich for my blood.

I brooded for days. I kept checking the price, sometimes more than once a day. No change. I did not have the heart to search for another treat. I had chosen this.

Pricing in retail makes little sense to me. The same item can be worth very different amounts in a heart beat. Why is that? Why would the retailer not give you the lower price the next day if you asked. I could not find a way on the Amazon website to even ask.

Then serendipity intervened. After 10 days of checking the prices on the complete series package, I noticed that Amazon cut the price in half of the individual seasons. Add it up. I could now get all five seasons individually for a total of $96 or the complete set for $183. I ordered the five seasons as fast as I could click.

They arrived a couple of days ago. The big decision now is whether to start with the very first episode or the pilot which was named “Head of the Family” and starred Carl Reiner. 25 disks to go. I am thinking about having a DVD marathon party. 24/7. Anyone interested?

Now this is a treat.

ps. As I went went to YouTube to find the opening to add I find that you can find view episodes for free there. What a world.

BUNCO Redux

My first real blog post about 4 years ago described my first time playing Bunco. At the time I had no idea what Bunco was or if I would enjoy it. I did. Immensely.

So we were very happy to be invited once again shortly before New Years day to rejoin the festivities.

What makes this night so fun? First it is a family and friends night. The hosts are a family of 10.  Add fiends of all ages to the mix, from the youngest at 7 to someone in their 60s or 70s (I was too polite to ask). It is a game anyone can play. The action is fast and the rewards are both immediate (a game typically lasts 2 – 5 minutes) and long-lasting (we play 30 games in an evening).

During the course of the evening you get to meet and interact with most of the players. In Bunco, the winning team moves to a higher table.  Then a couple of times during the event we stop for food and drink. At the end there are “fabulous” prizes.

Tom, one of the hosts and the master of ceremonies, gives fun and funny prizes to the best and the worst of the night,. This was a big night for me.  I not only rolled my first three Buncos ever, I did 2 in one game. My partner and I won for highest scoring game of the night. My prize? An ant farm. Unfortunately my wife refuses to let me mail away for the ants!

I have no idea whether other places where Bunco is played are as warm, inviting and entertaining as where I play. I hope so.

If you ever want to have lots of people in a house at the same time doing something low-key, embracing and fun…Bunco is the game for you.

Reconnecting With My Kids

I should not refer to Kyle and Amanda as kids. They are well in to their twenties. Yet I have known both of them since they were born and so to me they will forever be kids just as if they were my own.

Amanda was my first. Paul, one of my closest friends — we have known each other since college– and his lovely wife Maureen — they lived across the hall from each other when Paul was in his first apartment, were among the first to marry — I was the best man. They had Amanda not all that much later so she was the first child of one of my friends.

Taking care of Amanda as one of her first baby sitters continues to be one of my favorite memories. We played together on the floor, I got to carry her in my arms and put her in her crib for a nap. One of the best days ever.  She was my first little girl.

All through my single years, which lasted a long time, I became an unofficial uncle to some of my friends kids . More so with Kyle and Amanda than most. (Kyle referred to me as his fake uncle the other day. Kyle, there was nothing fake about it. Blood or no blood. For a number of years I was around much more than your “real ” uncles. Anyways I am officially your godfather.)

For Kyle and Amanda I attended birthday parties, Halloween trick or treat raids in the neighborhood, attended soccer games, plays (though I missed one of their last Shakespeare performances), Irish dancing and brought presents at Christmas. I believe that I am personally responsible for the vast majority of ice skates they received growing up.

Of course that was when they were young. Once college started I was not as good at keeping in touch. Then Amanda moved to Boston and Kyle to L.A. Sure I am aware of phones, email and snail mail. I just became a bad uncle for a while.

Fortunately they were both in town for the holidays and they made time to see me. I was able to spend three hours with these great kids. They are both interesting, articulate, athletic and attractive people. Kyle is in design. He has been on TV and just signed a book deal. Amanda is in process of figuring out the next stage of her life after 5 years in a PR firm. It was great fun to get to know them again and find out a little of what I have been missing for the past few years.

I intend to become a “good” uncle again. I am connected to both on Facebook. I will try to see Amanda since she is now local. I will miss no more birthdays. We will share in each others lives.

I will re-earn the title of Uncle Rick.