I’ll Miss You My Friend


Well it was supposed to be like any other Sunday in September, with pro football and such, but then I got the sad news that Aunt Bebe passed away at the age of 86. She was my aunt, but as I grew older she became a very good friend, a buddy.

When our family moved to Columbus in the early seventies Dad’s brother Uncle Tony and Aunt Bebe regularly visited us driving down from Akron during the summer weekends, for most holidays and of course for Ohio State home football games when she became Bebe Buckeye decked out in grey pants, scarlet vest, scarlet and grey top hat and sash covered with Buckeye buttons.

When I retired a few years ago I had the opportunity to visit her more often. We always went to Edgars for dinner and sat at the bar sharing appetizers and drinking wine. Our last time there a rather inebriated older gentleman came up behind her and said “I’d recognize that hairdo anywhere, you’re Bebe Webner”. She turned to me with that twinkle in her eye and said “I have no idea who this person is”. Come to find out she met the gentleman years ago when Uncle Tony worked at Goodyear, proof that she never really changed much over the years always staying fit and trim.

Whenever I visited she always had ESPN on her television set. You see Aunt Bebe was a nephews dream because not only did she love sports, but she was a very knowledgeable fan. Her favorite show was Mike and Mike in the morning which she watched daily. She felt that sports was one of the reasons that Uncle Tony was drawn to her.

My favorite football story she used to tell was her recollection of the 1950 “Snow Bowl” game that she and Uncle Tony attended during a blizzard in Columbus. The teams punted an incredible 45 times sometimes on first down in hopes that the other team might fumble the ball, with Michigan winning the game 9 to 3 despite never getting a single first down. I’ll miss calling to her on Sundays after Ohio State football and basketball games when she would give me her thoughts on what the offense or the defense needed to do better to win the next game.

She was an easy person to talk to and fun to be around. I always enjoyed our chats whether they were about current events or family issues when she would often say “Oh that’s ridiculous” or “Are you kidding me”. I enjoyed her candor and appreciated her helpful advice which she often gave whether you asked for it or not. You always knew where you stood with her.

While her life’s road was often rocky I always admired her resiliency from the setbacks and curve balls that life would throw her way. She never asked for help and prided herself on being a truly independent woman which she was.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see her these past few months as her health deteriorated rapidly, but I know in my heart that she is now with Uncle Tony who stole her heart years ago when he bought her a grilled cheese sandwich after a football game at Ohio Wesleyan, at least that’s what she said.

During one of my visits up to Akron I read her a poem that I often post when I lose someone close to me and she loved it. It’s called “Remembered Joy” which I offer in her memory.

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free. I’m following the path God laid for me. I took his hand when I heard him call. I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day, to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way, I found much peace at close of day.

If my parting has left a void, then fill it with Remembered Joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss. Ah yes, these things I too shall miss. Be not burdened with times of sorrow; I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life’s been full, I’ve savored much; good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all to brief; Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your hearts and share with me; God wanted me now; he has set me free.

One Down and One to Go

Yesterday Sarah underwent a six hour double lung transplant surgery after receiving lungs from an adult donor. Last week a Pennsylvania judge ruled that both Sarah Murnaghan and Javier Acosta who both at the time had advanced cystic fibrosis and maybe weeks to live should be eligible for adult lungs.

The judge’s ruling overturned an existing transplant policy that made children under twelve wait for pediatric lungs or be offered adult lungs only after adults on the waiting list had been considered because pediatric lungs are rarely donated.

I clearly don’t have the medical knowledge to know whether or not the judge’s ruling was ethical, but I can’t understand why there aren’t more organs being donated. While the loss of a loved one would be tragic especially if it was a child, why wouldn’t their loved ones want to give the extraordinary gift of life or extended life to someone else ?

I have been an organ donor for as long as I can remember. According to one website the donation of one organ can save as many as eight people and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of as many as fifty people. So if you are not an organ donor already why not become one and make sure that your family is aware of your wishes. Javier is still waiting on his lungs.

Key West – Something for Everyone

Key West isn’t just a bunch of bars, of course there are bars like Sloppy Joes if drinking is your thing.


And there is a bar called the Garden of Eden at the top of the Whistle Bar where you can enjoy your alcoholic beverage and clothing is optional.


There are all kinds of water sports you can try.


And boats you can charter.


Short cruises you can take – maybe not Carnival.


Every kind of shop imaginable.


There’s art to look at.


Churchs to check out.


Music to listen to like Moose and the Bulletproof Blues Band at the Ninety Mile High Club where you can enjoy your favorite cigar.


Odd trees to look at like the Banyan tree seen below or the Kapok tree on Whitehead St.


Maybe enjoy the pool at your rental unit – I did.


You’ll meet people you haven’t seen in awhile like Kelly (I’m standing next to her on the right) who used to be part of a large group of us that went camping every year up here in Ohio. New people like Denny – the conservative and his wife Janet who we met at the Conch Republic Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant has it’s own shrimp boat bringing in fresh pink shrimp daily – some of the best I have ever had and I know shrimp ! Not to mention the killer two for one Happy Hour everyday.


And last but not least there are some of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see at  Sunset Pier.


So check out Key West – this was my second visit there and we had an action packed four days. I guarantee you won’t leave there disappointed.


Harlem Shake It Up

I’m probably late to the party on this one, but the latest viral dance craze called the Harlem Shake is fun and spontaneous for groups of people who work or hang out together. It’s reported that there have been over 40,000 versions so far on YouTube (I haven’t verified this).

The shake version as defined by Wiki begins with a lone figure in plain casual clothes with eccentric headgear. For fifteen seconds the individual grooves freestyle to a track of repetitive synthetic percussion by electronic musician Baauer. The colleagues of the dancer work on oblivious to the lone figures grooving then cut in and everyone is flailing, gyrating and getting in touch with their inner selves. Below are the Top Ten funniest.

My favorite is the guy in the bottom right corner on number 6 who looks as though he is getting shock therapy – hope you enjoy it as much as I did !

I Don’t Got Rhythm


Probably most of us have heard the song with the lyrics – I got rhythm who could ask for anything more ! Boy if that isn’t the truth. The song is of course about musical rhythm, unfortunately something most of us take for granted the rhythm of our heartbeat or in medical terminology sinus node rhythm I don’t have right now.

Sometime in the next week or so I will be going into one of our fine hospitals in the Columbus area for my third visit to the electro-physiology Lab, the EP lab for short. I am hoping the third time is the charm as the saying goes.

These people do a great job making me feel at ease before and after the procedure. During the procedure the doctor administers medication which totally knocks me out and cardio-version is done sending electrical current to my heart through electrodes placed on my chest.

During my last visit I developed quite a rapport with the technician who gave me my tape to share on the family blog which shows the syncing of my irregular heartbeat on the left (the black arrows), the shock and then a return to regular heartbeat intervals on the right. He said they do around twenty of these procedures each day with very little risk to the patient.

Isn’t medical technology wonderful – so take heart (no pun intended) – if you develop atrial fibrillation this procedure is nothing to worry about !

Christmas Buffet at the Boathouse in Columbus

Okay its Christmas Day and you don’t feel like doing anything in the kitchen, who does – so why not go somewhere fancy with a view and an all you can eat buffet. What better place to do that then the Boathouse (for those of you that live in Columbus it’s the old Confluence Park Restaurant) and that’s what we did !

From our table the view of the city of Columbus where the Olentangy meets the Scioto River.


Mussels, shrimps, snow crab legs – you name it they had it


Salmon Poached


Desserts galore ! Coconut Cream Pie, Courtney


It doesn’t get any better than this and what a wonderful time we all had – thanks so much to my friends especially Janine !

The Rest of the Story ……

It was pretty much like every other Sunday night, except for the fact that I was recovering from some type of virus (I’d had my flu shot, but flu shots don’t cover all strains) that hit me pretty hard earlier in the week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The virus was so bad that I probably vomited thirty or so times during the three days leaving me weak and most likely a bit dehydrated.

The rest of my family was waiting at the emergency room to get word from the doctor on another family member who was having some health issues so I decided to drive myself to the ER with the intent of being there just a short time to listen to what the doctor had to say then driving myself back home.

While standing in the ER I started to feel a bit light headed so I sat down on one of the trash bins in the room and things became a bit out of focus. According to my family I snorted a couple of times then my eyes became glazed over. Next thing I know I am being loaded into a wheelchair and taken to another room in the ER where they did an EKG. My heart was racing and twitching without any coordination what so ever so they put me on medication to slow my heart rate and help it maintain a much more reasonable rhythm.

Once an individuals heart goes out of regular rhythm the concern turns to how long has the heart been out of rhythm and while it has been out of rhythm have any blood clots formed in the chambers of the heart due to the hearts ineffective pumping action. To make this determination a scope was placed in my esophagus the next day that took pictures of the back of the heart chambers and when it was determined that I had no blood clots they whisked me away to do cardioversion.

Cardioversion is an electrical shock delivered to an individuals chest wall through patches that stop the abnormal heartbeat and allow ones heart to resume a normal rhythm. A doctor and two assistants administered this procedure and said that the jolt of electricity that is used is comparable to a mule kicking a man in the chest. They said the jolt caused my hands and legs to fly up in the air, but I didn’t feel a thing.

So I am back in regular rhythm now and out of the hospital after only a couple of days – truly amazing !

A Wonderful Little Book

A couple of weeks ago my spiritual friend Heather suggested that I read the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel and I highly recommend it. It’s a very quick read, but thought provoking none the less. The movie is coming out in 3D this coming Wednesday.

Piscine Patel is a teenage Indian boy who lives with his father and mother who are zoo owners. Often typical of ones childhood he decides to change his name to Pi because the other children ridicule him by calling him Pissing Patel. The first part of the book covers his life with his family, growing up around animals and most importantly his adventure into religion where he becomes a practicing Hindu, Christian and Muslim because he likes some of what each of the religion has to offer.

In the second part of the book Pi’s father decides the family should immigrate to Canada for a better life so they board a cargo ship bringing with them most of their animals to sell in North America. Unfortunately the cargo ship sinks, but Pi survives floating in the Pacific Ocean for two hundred and twenty seven days along with a hyena, a zebra, a orangutan and a tiger named Richard Parker. His efforts to survive and his interactions with the animals are quite interesting as he makes his way to the Mexican shoreline.

Toward the end of the book Pi is interviewed by Japanese maritime officials who are investigating the ships sinking, but they find Pi’s story with the animals almost too incredible to believe. So Pi’s offers these officials an entirely different version of the story and they are left to ponder which of the two versions are true.

Based on what I have read about the book on the internet the story in meant to have some religious underpinnings. The author, Yann Martel leaves the reader with the choice of believing Pi’s animal version of the story which would make them a religious believer, Pi’s alternative version which would make the reader an atheist or an agnostic if the reader can’t choose between the two versions.

Where do you come down ? I know where I do !

Last but Not Least the Foreign Policy Debate !

Tonight we will hear from both candidates on Foreign Policy. We know pretty much by now what we are going to get from the president over the next four years, but the question is what will we get from Mr. Romney if he becomes president.

I just finished reading an interesting book titled Obama and the Middle East by Fawaz Gerges an influential writer on the troubled region which I highly recommend. The book takes the reader from a time when the United States was highly respected to where we are today. The author categorizes the current presidents policy as modest and humble as opposed to the Bush Cheney ideology of power and assertiveness.

In contrast to Bush, president Obama is not a liberal interventionist and is much less inclined to use force to advance American causes setting strict limits to any use of military force while encouraging multi-lateralism as opposed to unilateralism.

Per the author the president and Hillary Clinton have had to spend much of their time trying to redirect American foreign policies in a more constructive direction because of the damage done by the Iraq War which the Arab world looks at as an effort by our country to create a democratic model for Iraq’s neighbors to follow.

The use of torture and the abuse of Iragi prisoners at Abu Ghraib significantly damaged America’s moral credibility in the Arab world too. These events have reinforced a widely held belief by Arabs that the United States believes that it stands above international laws and practices. The author believes that the Bush Doctrine has created more enemies and more terrorists that we will have to confront in the future.

The president also draws critical remarks from the author because he has turned a blind eye towards Israel continuing to construct settlements on Palestinian land which makes a two country solution more improbable. He explains it as negotiations over how to divide a pizza pie while one side is eating all of the pizza.

Frustrated Arab countries who once looked to the United States for leadership are weary of our rhetoric and inaction so they now turn to Egypt, Turkey and Iran for solutions to their problems. It will take more than four years to undo the damage that has been done and for Arab countries to again look to the United States for leadership in the region.

My hope is that Mr Romney if he becomes president doesn’t return to the Bush foreign policy, but if he does we can look forward to more bitterness and angry to be directed at us for many years to come.

The Thrill of “A” Victory

Yesterday the Browns Backers of Westerville took their annual bus trip up to Cleveland to see the Browns play the Bengals. The weather was a gorgeous seventy two degrees with wind gusts of up to forty miles per hour.

By my count there was only one Bengal fan on our bus – Karen’s husband Tim who wore Ohio University garb because he didn’t want to call attention to himself.

Westerville Browns Backers (we meet every Sunday at Jimmy V’s Bar and Grill) President Steve Hodge manned the grill which included the standard brats and burgers along with macaroni salad, potato salad and for desert, of course BROWNIES.

We had a great view of the field even though our seats were way up in the end zone which left some of us breathless, no pun intended.

Rita, Karen and I were happy as can be when the Browns broke the game open in second half and brought home a 34 – 24 win.

The highlight of my day was using the complimentary ticket given to each of us Browns backers for a free soda and hot dog. Can’t beat that stadium mustard.

So thankfully we Browns fans no one thing is for sure, we are not going to be winless this year – wooo hoooo !

Ohhhhh No – Not More Defense Spending

Please – I just don’t get it !!! Mitt wants more defense spending ! This last month the big question in Money magazine to subscribers was How would you balance the Federal Budget – 43% of which I was one who said yes to cutting Defense Spending – 29% said raise taxes, 15% said cut Medicare and 13% said cut Social Security.

The difference between the president and Mitt Romney is $2 trillion dollars, Mitt wants us to build more aircraft carriers and he wants to add 100,000 more conventional forces. Do we really need this ? Today close to 16% of the federal budget is spent on defense and the United States accounts for about 41%  of the worlds current military expenditures. President Obama wants to put the brakes on defense spending.

Mitt wants to make sure that we have a military so strong that no one wants to test it. A large military simply makes no sense in this day and age, we need a military that is leaner more agile and more efficient. It’s only my humble opinion, but I am bothered by Mitt’s military eagerness and it reminds me quite a bit of George Bush. Does this bother anyone else, am I wrong ?

A Piece of Crap ?

Dumb, stupid, ignorant, idiotic and simpleminded are a few of the words that immediately come to mind after viewing the Muhammad movie trailer below which is causing all of the turmoil in the Middle East. It’s sad to think that this trailer may have led to the senseless deaths of four Americans especially ambassador Chris Stevens who had such a passion for his job.

Free speech is a wonderful thing and one of many things that make our country great, but I often wonder if something like our freedom of speech needs to be explained more fully to people who live in countries where their government for years have censored books, films and the internet.

I hope Muslims know that we Americans have the right to view whatever we want and it’s up to each of us to make up our own mind as to whether or not we believe it. I guess I was expecting something a little more thought provoking, but this movie trailer wasn’t even worth the time it took to watch it !

BEST Philly Cheese Steak in the Midwest

Yesterday I had the afternoon off so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and headed to JT’s Pizza to visit with my nephew while getting my monthly fix of the BEST Philly Cheese Steak sandwich I’ve ever tasted in my lifetime.

Our nephew Joe Hartnett (pictured behind my nephew Danny) is part owner with Todd Swan of JT’s Pizza and they started their business a couple of years ago priding themselves on using high quality ingredients and serving them at a reasonable price.

While I was waiting for my sandwich I couldn’t help but notice the board they have posted with the number of sales records they are setting in 2012. Joe, I am proud of what you have accomplished in such a short time, especially during a time when a lot of businesses are struggling. Your hard work and perseverance are paying dividends and I know that your grandma is proud of you too. In fact we are all proud of you !

The philly sandwich is a half pound of philly steak blended together with sauteed mushrooms, onions and green peppers (I like mine without the green peppers) topped with cheese and mayonnaise with fresh cut fries for only $7. Rumor has it that truckers stop at JT’s on their way through Columbus just to get the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich which they say is the best in the Midwest and I wholeheartedly agree with them – it is fantastic !

Their pizza is killer too. So if you live here in Columbus check out JT’s pizza just west of Linworth Road on 161 next to Valvoline. The website is http://www.jtspizzacolumbus.com. Keep up the good work Joe – see you next month for my fix !

Mesmerized by Thrones

Wow, if you are looking for really interesting reading I would highly recommend the series of books George R. R. Martin (GRRM) has written from which Game of Thrones the HBO series is based. You can pick up the first four books in a paperback set, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows for about $30 at Barnes and Noble.

The series is told in the third person from the point of view of his characters which he so richly develops (my favorite being Tyrion an imp whose mother died during his birth leaving his father to loathe him). Wiki places the books in the epic or high fantasy genre and I have several friends both male and female that are currently reading the series so it seems to have appeal for both sexes. All of us reading the series agree you find yourself staying up til early in the morning reading to find out what happens next and you really can’t put the books down.

The story is set in medieval times and revolves around several plots, a group of families who have at one time or another ruled the fictional continent of Westeros all wanting to rule it again, the threat from “others” who dwell beyond a great wall of ice which protects Westeros northern border and the desire of an exiled daughter of a deceased mad king to return to the throne and rule Westeros.

Probably the thing I like most about GRRM’s writing is the way he cleverly will make you believe one or more of his characters is dead and the fact that he does kill off major characters at a whim (maybe it’s just me, but I am tired of reading books where everything always works out for the main characters).

I just completed book three, A Storm of Swords which was the best so far so if you have been watching the HBO series season three will have many surprises in store for you. I did watch Season one when it came out on DVD and I happen to think that the books are much better than the HBO series itself. GRRM has written book five, A Dance with Dragons which was published in 2011 and he is currently writing book six, The Winds of Winter now.

All I know is I am hooked and you might be to if you give these a try – Happy Reading !

Las Vegas – My Kind of Town

Greetings from Las Vegas where we are celebrating my friend Mark’s fortieth birthday. Our accommodations are at the Palazzo Hotel.

A sweet suite !

The view from the room.

And the pool.

Yesterday was a pool day with Lyn and Mark the temperature nearing 100.

Then out on the town for some gambling. Friday night was a good night at the craps table – Saturday night not so good !

But who cares – today is Sunday and I am starting the day out with my favorite breakfast – Moons over my Hammy at Denny’s.